Juventus extend contracts with defenders Cheillini, Barzagli

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Turin, June 30 (IANS) Reigning Italian football champions Juventus have extended the contracts of veteran defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli until 2020 and 2019 respectively.

“Chiellini, who was recently named Juventus captain, has committed to the club for a further two years until 2020, while his longstanding rearguard partner, Barzagli, has renewed until 2019,” the Turin powerhouse said in a statement on Friday.

“Juventus could not be happier to maintain the services of two men, who for so long have embodied the club’s #FinoAllaFine mindset.”

The presence of these two, who are among the five Juventus players to have won the last seven consecutive Serie A titles, will ensure that the club will not feel the leadership vaccum since Saturday marks the end of contracts of outgoing captain Gianluigi Buffon and Swiss right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The other member of Juventus’ famous five, vice-captain and Claudio Marchisio is also expected to stay at the club where he has spent his entire football life.

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Chiellini, 33, and Barzagli, 37, have forged an extraordinary partnership across the Bianconeri backline over the years, making it one of the most formidable defences in European football. The pair has helped Juventus reach two Champions League finals in the last four seasons. They have also won four consecutive Coppa Italia titles and three Italian Super Cups.

With both Chiellini and Barzagli together on the pitch, Juventus have conceded just 0.7 goals and gained an impressive 2.3 points per game. On both counts, the Bianconeri have performed better compared to when at least one of them has been absent (0.8 goals conceded and 2.2 points per game), according to the club’s website.

Ever since making his Juventus debut on October 14, 2005, Chiellini has become an absolute pillar of the Bianconeri backline.

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With 472 appearances to his name, Chiellini is currently Juventus’ seventh-longest serving player of all time and he is certainly set to climb that leaderboard over the course of the next two years.

In his seven-and-a-half years as a Juventus player, Barzagli has amassed 271 appearances.

“A World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, Barzagli’s experience has made him an invaluable member on the pitch and in the locker room for Juventus and his continued presence and influence next season will only boost the Bianconeri cause to keep the winning cycle in motion,” Juventus said.

–IANS

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