Juventus are six points clear at the top of the table with seven matches to play, but Andrea Barzagli is in no mood to get carried away with matters ahead of Saturday’s crucial Serie A showdown with Milan at the San Siro.
The Italy defender knows precisely what it takes to win league titles, having won four in as many seasons since arriving from Wolfsburg in 2011, and he was keen to place emphasis on mental strength, without ever falling into the trap of complacency when discussing the weeks ahead with the Sky cameras this afternoon.
“No team should ever presume that they are stronger than the others,” he began. “Over recent years we feel like we’ve deserved to win the silverware we have, but we continue to keep our feet on the ground.
“The secret to our success is not merely the quality of our players, rather our mentality, the importance we place in donning these colours and our will to win each season.”
This desire to lift trophies has extended increasingly to the European stage during Barzagli’s five years in Turin, with the club establishing itself as an ever-greater force in the Champions League.
Looking back at last month’s clash against Bayern Munich, in which they took the Bavarians to the very wire, the 34-year-old admitted: “We’ve still great regrets regarding the final minutes in Munich. We came up against one of Europe’s strongest sides and if we’d gone through I believe we’d have had every chance of going all the way.
“Perhaps we’re still not one of the top two or three teams who can consider themselves favourites for the Champions League, but we’ve shown that we belong among the top four or five.”
Fittingly, Barzagli would dedicate his final words to the future and, more specifically, the next generation of Italian defenders to take over the mantle of marshalling the Bianconeri backline once the likes of the Wall, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini have eventually hung up their boots.
“I’d say that there are two names which really stand out: Daniele Rugani and Alessio Romagnoli. Beyond that pair, however, there’s a lack of emerging talent and I’m not sure why.
“I think we need to place greater trust in promising youngsters, who obviously need to be good enough to play. Rugani and Romagnoli have proved this already, but I hope that the next crop of players can produce more top-quality defenders still."