Giorgio Chiellini has warned of Juventus’ need to be firmly on their guard this Sunday when taking on Hellas Verona, a side whose talents will make for what he considers the biggest test Antonio Conte’s men have faced of late.
The Bianconeri travel to the Bentegodi as Serie A front-runners, but the 29-year-old is well aware of the threat the Gialloblu pose and has called for a strong performance during a potentially crucial game in the course of the Scudetto campaign.
Speaking to Sky Italia, the defender began: “Sunday’s game is the most difficult we’ve faced in this period because Verona are a solid team with plenty of enthusiasm and emerging players like Iturbe and Romulo, who have played at high levels worthy of great teams this season.”
The newly-promoted Gialloblu are in a strong position to seal Europa League qualification in their first season in the top flight since 2001/02, and a large part of their lofty standing is based on the 10 goals provided by ex-Juve player Luca Toni.
The veteran striker, who played for the Bianconeri in a year-long spell beginning in January 2011, has rolled back the years with some virtuoso displays since a summer transfer, and Chiellini recognises that he will be a tricky customer on Sunday.
“He’s an exceptional player, and we’re all happy that he’s still doing so well and proving himself as the champion he is. He’s a great guy who contributes a lot to the group; he was here in a year when things weren’t going so well, but he’s a big threat.”
From figures of Bianconeri past to new faces of Bianconeri present, Chiellini went on to reveal his first impressions of recent signing Dani Osvaldo.
“He’s fired-up and determined. He wants to do well in this experience and he’s said that he wants to prove himself worthy of being at this club.
“I’m convinced that this could be the place that provides Daniel with the stability to allow him to do really well. We’ve got lots of games coming up with the Europa League, and the more top players we have the better.”
The arrival of the Italian international is the latest step in a trajectory of constant development over recent years, and it was this idea that concluded the centre-back’s interview.
“We’re a different team to the one that won through a more dynamic and gung-ho style in the first year.
“We’ve grown a lot in these two and a half seasons. We’ve made important changes to improve, and the players’ individual development has also been fundamental.
“We feel much stronger than the Juve of two years ago, but we have to prove it every Sunday. That’s the challenge.”