Players such as Kaka, Mario Balotelli, Patrice Evra, Ashley Cole, Nemanja Vidic, Fernando Torres, Rafael Marquez and Javier Saviola have all moved to Serie A in the last two years, to either revive their careers or squeeze a few more years out of them.
Many, such as Balotelli and Torres, struggle and quickly move on, but there has been one outstanding success story.
Argentina forward Carlos Tevez, who led Juventus to a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in Tuesday’s Champions League tie, has breathed new life into his career since joining the Serie A champions from Manchester City in June 2013.
Worn out after four eventful seasons at City, Tevez was also shunned by then Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella amid speculation that he was considered too much of a disruptive influence.
But it has all gone right at Juventus where the 31-year-old has not looked back since being given a rapturous reception by the supporters and handed the number 10 shirt.
“The number 10 will always belong to Alessandro Del Piero but I think of the badge on the front. That’s the biggest responsibility,” he told Tuttosport in a recent interview.
END OF EXILE
He scored 21 goals in his first season as Juventus won Serie A by a 17-point margin and is joint leading scorer in Serie A this term with 14 goals. In between, he has also been recalled by new Argentina coach Gerardo Martino, ending a three-year exile which included last year’s World Cup.
Juve have managed to tame the wilder instincts of a player who was once sent once sent off for Boca Juniors in his homenad after celebrating a goal against River Plate by flapping his arms to imitate a chicken, a reference to that fact Boca fans use “chickens” as a derogatory nickname for their arch-rivals.
Instead, his trademark celebration is to pull a baby’s dummy from his shorts and put it in his mouth, a tribute to his daughter.
But the old verve and tenacity are still there, and combined with his speed, instinct for goal and skill make him a nightmare for defenders, as Borussia found on Tuesday.
He was too hot for the Bundesliga side to handle and also started the move which led to Juve’s second goal just before halftime.
This season, he has also struck up an excellent understanding with Spanish forward Alvaro Morata, signed from Real Madrid before the start of the season.
“We’ve been playing together more regularly and you can see that on the field,” he said after Tuesday’s game.
Tevez has already made it clear that he will end his career back at Boca. “When I joined Juve I was very clear it’d be my last contract before returning Boca. But first I want to win everything here.”
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)