Andrea Barzagli says the three full seasons he has spent with Juventus have represented the “finest of his career”.
The 33-year-old, who traded the German Bundesliga for Serie A back in January 2011, has cemented his place as a vital cog of Antonio Conte’s defensive trio and played a crucial role in returning the club to Scudetto glory.
Speaking on Jtv’s ‘Filo Diretto’, Barzagli said: “These have been the best years of my career. I’ve also had good seasons in the past but it’s different when you play for a great team and taste success.
“Our first Scudetto was the most exciting and surprising, as nobody expected us to win it. Our second served as confirmation, while this year’s title I’d define as devastating – we’ve had a magnificent league season.”
As one of the team’s elder statesman, the Azzurri international has brought his leadership qualities to the fore and flourished under the pressures that go hand in hand with representing a club of Juventus’ stature.
“You feel the importance and responsibility that comes with wearing such a shirt. Many great champions have donned it before and we’ve got millions of fans in Italy and around the world. It’s a shirt that must always be honoured.”
A calf injury has kept Barzagli sidelined for the majority of the end of season run-in, but he insists he is now looking forward to staking his claim for a spot in Italy’s World Cup squad during the final two games of the campaign.
“I’m gradually working my way back to peak condition. Unfortunately this injury kept me out for five weeks. Now it seems that I’ve shaken it off and I hope to regain my form.”
The first of these encounters falls on Sunday evening against Roma, who the defender believes will be out to settle a score after being pipped to the post in this year’s title race.
“I think they will want to display that they’re not inferior. Even though we’ve already won the league we want to give a good account of ourselves. I’d say our first game against them was the most symbolic of the season, we won 3-0 and stretched our lead at the top.”