So who is proving to be Beppe Marotta’s best buy for Juventus so far? Many of you will be screaming “Milos Krasic” at the screen right now. The more astute watchers of the team just know it is Alberto Aquilani, while a few will be thinking that perhaps this is the going to be praise for the “good brother” of Felipe Melo or maybe even a nod to the impact of the new coach Gigi Delneri. While all these are great views there is another man who has quietly gone almost unnoticed so far, while arguably doing his job better than any of the names previously mentioned.
Upon taking over the club this summer Marotta & Delneri tackled one issue ahead of all others. Before finding players to fit the system or even getting some of the dead wood out of Turin & on the way to Dubai, the two men tackled an unenviable task. With Gigi Buffon out injured until the new year just who can fill in between the posts for the number one? The answer came easily to the two ex-Sampdoria men, as they simply turned to the man who did so well for them & theBlucerchiati last season.
Marco Storari was the first signing of this Andrea Agnelli era Juventus, & at just €4.5 million (spread over three years) he is also perhaps the best value addition too. Statistically the best ‘keeper in Serie in the second half of last season he is up there again despite Juve’s early season defensive frailty. Joining Juve from Milan makes it seem like he is firmly established among the elite, but that has not been the case for the Pisa born stopper.
He made his professional debut in Serie C1 for Ancona at 21, earning promotion to the second tier of Italian football in 2000, before leaving two years later for Napoli who were also in B. After just four games he was loaned to another team in the same division, Messina, who made the deal permanent the following summer. Finally he established himself as a first team regular, & helped the Sicilian side to their first promotion to the top flight in over forty years.
Obviously heavily favoured to be relegated immediately the team took the league by storm, echoing the performance of Chievo’s ‘Flying Donkeys’ of a few years earlier, with Storari playing a huge role. He kept eleven clean sheets that term, notably in a 0-0 draw with Juve & the Sicilian Derby with Palermo. The following season did not go so well & the team lost 19 games yet, due to the relegation of Juventus, Messina were reinstated to Serie A despite finishing eight points adrift of safety.
January the following year & finally one of Italian footballs giants came calling for the then 30 year old Storari. With injuries affecting both their first choice ‘keepers they took him on loan but he seemingly froze, conceding seven goals in three games. Losing his place in the team then the match day squad as others returned he looked to repair his reputation on loan at Levante. His bad luck did not stop there as the Spanish team sent him back, unable to pay his wages & in serious financial difficulty, much like Messina.
He spent time at both Cagliari & Fiorentina before returning to Milan, finally becoming the first choice number one at the start of last season. He did well, earning a new contract & finally looking like putting an end to his nomadic career which has seen him play for twelve different teams already. Then injury struck & by the time he returned Milan had moved on. So Storari did the same, joining Sampdoria & Gigi Delneri’s impressive looking side in Genoa. He played 19 games & was vital to the team securing a Champions League playoff berth.
Milan recalled him, then inexplicably sold him to Juventus while signing the much maligned Marco Amelia from Genoa in an exchange that made no sense. Given his performances so far in Turin however nobody here is complaining, despite him conceding 13 goals in 12 games. Since the last loss in Serie A (at home to Palermo) the team has vastly improved, despite a crippling injury list. In the eight games since Storari has only been beaten five times & his 37 saves this season have been impressive for a number of reasons.
In many of those games the team has dominated, & he has been largely a spectator until a defensive lapse allows the opposition a shooting chance. This level of concentration is hugely important, a difficult skill for any player & it is testament to his maturity & awareness that most of the goals have not been his fault. Minimising his mistakes & making crucial stops has instilled confidence in an ever changing back four. The club has fielded twelve different defenders in the league, with the 33 year old stopper & Leonardo Bonucci the only ever presents.
So while a Serbian winger, a re-born Brazilian & an Italian midfield maestro steal the headlines it is the man doing the impossible job that continues to go unheralded. His career path thus far will ensure he never takes it for granted, but while you never tug on Superman’s cape, Marco Storari is wearing his gloves & looking comfortable doing it.
Source: Il Tifosi
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