Lemina eyes key role in Juventus midfield

Turin, May 5 (IANS) Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina feels he can be a “key figure” after being part of the city-based football giants’ triumphant campaign in his first season in Serie A.

Juventus rewarded Lemina for his promising show when they secured the long-term services of the 22-year-old on a four-year deal from French club Marseille last week.

The contract has filled the Gabonese international, who struggled with injury at the beginning in Italy, with an ambition to build on this season’s success.

“I’ve predominately filled in for (Claudio) Marchisio in front of the back four this term, but I’ve also felt at home in more advanced positions. I’m learning all the time and I’m confident that I can contribute to the team from anywhere on the field,” Lemina told Juventus’ website on Wednesday.

“I’ve had a great year, not only for the two goals that I have scored, but for the overall success of the last nine months,” he added.

“We’ve been terrific to a man but we musn’t stop here. At a personal level, this is just the beginning and I hope to become a key figure in this team in years to come.”

Lemina also singled out skipper Gianluigi Buffon, and the tight-knit nature of the Juventus dressing room for the club’s success that has seen them clinch a fifth Serie A title on the trot.

“What sets Juventus apart is their attention to detail in training and in preparing for matches. No stone is left unturned and the entire setup is extremely professional,” he said.

“Naturally at the beginning Paul (Pogba) and Patrice (Evra), both being French speakers like myself, helped me to settle into the squad but now I’d say I get on very well with everyone.

“If I had to pick out someone who has had the largest impression on me, it would have to be Buffon. He has the power to instil belief and confidence in anyone.”

Lemina also pointed out that Juventus missed a “touch of luck” for not getting a Champions League title. They lost to Bayern Munich in the pre-quarterfinals in a tight Champions League contest in April.

“My dream is to win the Champions League with Juventus. Last time out they were denied in the final and this time we pushed Bayern Munich all the way,” he recalled.

“All that has been missing is a touch of luck, a big ingredient for any winner of that trophy.”

–IANS

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