The upcoming All Stars versus Juventus clash at ANZ Stadium in Sydney should be appreciated for what it is – a bit of fun – and not taken too seriously. Which is not to say an opportunity to watch the Italian giants play should be passed over.
Some media and fans haven’t gotten the memo that this is a game to be enjoyed as a bit of entertaining fluff to pass the time until the A-League finally kicks off again in October.
For Juventus, the game on Sunday is nothing more than a chance to promote the club brand to a wider audience. As a pre-season friendly it will serve very little purpose other than to get a few kilometres into players’ legs as they build towards the real stuff.
As for the All Stars: they are not a true representation of the strength of the A-League, rather a hodgepodge of the competition’s most popular players.
The result will have no significance whatsoever.
Most fans who make the trip to ANZ will just be keen to see the stars of Juventus strut their stuff, and rightly so.
There will be some of the most exciting talents in world football on display in the famous black and white shirts.
Every one of Juve’s likely starting XI took part in the recent World Cup, and there are a smattering of genuine legends who will be gracing the turf, along with a few youngsters who could one day earn themselves similar status.
Gianluigi Buffon won the World Cup with Italy back in 2006, is an all-time Azzurri great and has arguably been the finest goalkeeper the planet has seen over the past two decades or so. While others of his age fade, he showed last season in Serie A that he is still a magnificent exponent of the art of keeping.
Andrea Pirlo is another Italy legend who controls a game of football in such a languid, graceful manner that it would be worth the price of admission alone just to watch him play.
This Juventus side has in fact formed the core of the Italy national team at the past few major tournaments, with the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Claudio Marchisio all regular starters for the Azzurri.
Meanwhile, Carlos Tevez may be getting the cold shoulder from Argentina’s national team setup at the moment, but anyone who has watched European football over the past few years will know he is an immensely talented forward who is thrilling to watch.
Juve’s engine room is highly impressive. It features the Chilean dynamo Arturo Vidal, who could lay claim to be the most complete midfielder going around at the moment, as well as young Frenchman Paul Pogba, who many consider to be on the way to greatness.
Patrice Evra, recently signed from Manchester United, is set to become the first player to participate in two All Star games.
The All Stars team itself is obviously not the main drawcard in this fixture, but home supporters will relish the chance to welcome back some of our own World Cup stars, and will be hoping they do well enough to represent the local competition with aplomb.
Those who fret about the lineup or complain about who was chosen as coach by an online poll are missing the point.
Enjoy the football.
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