The Lost Jewels of Juventus: Milos Krasic
Tuesday July 26 2016
This story began in the spring of 2010. Juventus was immersed in one of their deepest crisis. The Calciopoli scandal hit the institution hard and Alessio Secco’s infamous sporting direction wasn’t helping the team to return where it belongs. Juventus’ executive board needed to act fast, so they hired Andrea Agnelli — the youngest son of the beloved Umberto Agnelli — to be the club’s new president.
Agnelli fired Secco and began to seek a new sporting director immediately. As you know, he hired Giuseppe Marotta. Beppe was the architect of a surprising Sampdoria team that the previous season finished fourth in Serie A. After some deliberations with Agnelli, Marotta selected Sampdoria’s Luigi Delneri as Juventus’ new manager.
Historically, Delneri worked with a 4-4-2 formation and he loved to counterattack his rivals. Knowing this, Marotta started to build a new Juventus squad. Juventus didn’t have a big budget; therefore, Marotta had to gamble in the summer mercato. He brought Simone Pepe and Marco Motta from Udinese, Leonardo Bonucci from Bari (via Genoa), Davide Lanzafame from Parma, Jorge Martínez from Catania, Armand Traoré from Arsenal and, with Gigi Buffon coming off a serious injury sustained at the World Cup, Marco Storari from Sampdoria. Also, that summer, Beppe transferred veteran icon David Trezeguet to Hercules and Brazilian playmaker Diego to Wolfsburg.
Marotta knew that his squad wasn’t complete. Juventus required a top player, a fuoriclasse. His main target was Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian was burning the Bundesliga at that time. He scored 62 goals over the previous two seasons and helped his side to win the Bundesliga. Marotta started a bidding war against Manchester City for the hitman’s services, but the Citizens won the battle thanks to Mansour bin Zayed’s economic power.
Marotta comprehended that he was the underdog against Manchester City gargantuan capital, so he kept an ace under his sleeve. His plan B was an electric winger from CSKA Moscow named Milos Krasic. The Serbian was having a spectacular season in Russia and the Horses reached the Champions League’s quarterfinals. Krasic scored four goals in the tournament, including a stunner against Manchester United.
Liverpool, Manchester United, and Manchester City tried to add the Serbian to their rosters, but Marotta sealed the deal cleverly. He paid CSKA Moscow €15 million for Krasic — which was considered by some experts a very low sum. Milos realized he had a chance to play in one of the greatest clubs in the world, additionally, he thought that Delneri’s coaching style would adjust nicely to his explosive skills. Furthermore, Krasic accepted a lower salary to join Juventus, and he was so eager to meet his new team that he paid €10,000 to get a private flight to arrive on time to training.
Marotta finished that summer transfer window with the acquisition of Napoli’s charismatic striker Fabio Quagliarella and classy Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani. Disappointedly, Juventus lost their first Serie A match against the modest Bari. However, Krasic was determined to make an impact with his new club and began to light up the Italian championship right away. He delivered three assists in the next two matches. Two weeks later, he marked a Hat-trick against Cagliari in the Stadio Olimpico di Torino. Milos crafted a wonderful attacking partnership with Fabio Quagliarella, the duo terrorized the opposing defenses every weekend. Krasic was on fire and a lot of people began to compare him with Juventus legend Pavel Nedved.
Three weeks after his hat trick, Krasic was banned for two games by the Italian league for diving inside Bologna’s penalty area. (Vicenzo Iaquinta failed to score the penalty, by the way.) After the match, Krasic was entitled as a diver by the world of soccer. Since that game, the referees haven't called a lot of fouls on him. Knowing that, the defenders hunted and punished Milos without mercy. Krasic fought against the adversity. Weeks later, he produced a last-minute game- winning goal against Lazio in Rome. Juventus finished the 2010 calendar year as a contender for the Scudetto.
However, Milos and Juventus took a huge blow during the first game of 2011 when Quagliarella sustained a terrible knee injury. Juventus lost that match 4-1 versus Parma. Everything went south after that game, without their starting forward the bianconeri looked helpless and Milos Krasic started to fade before our very eyes.
To be fair, Krasic didn’t take a breather during 2010. The Russian league started in January, then he played the World Cup in the summer and later he arrived in Turin to play with Juventus. The Serbian was exhausted, but Delneri used him every week because Juventus attack was too dependent on Krasic’s talent.
The other teams easily anticipated Juventus tactics. Every game, Delneri desperately shouted “Milosh, Milosh!!” while trying to squeeze some magic from his star. Krasic couldn’t respond, he was too tired physically and physiologically. Juventus finished seventh that season.
Delneri was sacked after the second-half meltdown, and Marotta hired former Juventus captain Antonio Conte. Conte played a high tempo 4-4-2/4-2-4 hybrid formation with Siena and everybody believed that Krasic would be an integral part of his strategy. In 2011, Juventus had a massive influx of talent that summer — Mirko Vucinic, Arturo Vidal, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Andrea Pirlo all arrived. Also, Marotta brought the speedster Eljero Elia to play on the left wing.
Nevertheless, Conte demanded grinta and defensive sacrifice from his wingers. Consequently, Krasic fell behind Pepe and Emanuele Giaccherini on the depth chart. Krasic scored his first and only goal of the season in Week 4 against Catania, but the Serbian and his new coach couldn’t find any rapport. Then, Conte switched to a 3-5-2 configuration, and that doomed Krasic’s aspirations. During the winter transfer window, Tottenham requested a loan, but Krasic refused the deal. He was convinced that he still had an opportunity in Juventus. It was a mistake, and he only had seven appearances that season. However, Juventus finished the season unbeaten and won the Scudetto.
Krasic was transferred to Fenerbahçe in 2012 for €7 million. Still, Milos was a shadow of his former self in Turkey. He only started six games that season. He went on loan to Bastia in 2013, but Krasic failed to resurrect in France. He returned to Fenerbahçe, and he didn’t play in the 2014-15 season.
Right now, Krasic, 32, is playing in Poland with the modest Lechia Gdansk. Sometimes, Milos still shows his quality at the Energa Gdansk Stadium. Nonetheless, he is not the same player that rocked Europe with CSKA Moscow and Juventus.