The Welshman impressed Bianconeri fans by speaking Italian at his first press conference and now he has been winning hearts with his form on the pitch
Ian Rush’s diary on his season-long stay at Juventus features a picture of the striker with headphones on while reading the language book ‘Buongiorno, Italia!’.
Sadly, the Welshman’s Italian lessons went about as well as his brief spell in Turin more than 30 years ago.
Given he was one of the most prolific goalscorers in the world at the time, Rush’s Serie A struggles came as shock but even he wasn’t surprised by his linguistic difficulties.
“I can’t even speak English that well,” the Liverpool legend wrote in his diary, “let alone a foreign language like Italian!”
Juve fans were, therefore, delighted when Rush’s compatriot Aaron Ramsey opened his first press conference as a Bianconero this summer by speaking a few words in Italian.
“Thank you to everyone for being here today,” he began.
“I want to say how happy I am to have come to Juventus, one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“Sorry for my Italian; it’s not very good, but I am studying hard!”
Ramsey has been now making just as positive an impression on the field.
The free transfer arrival from Arsenal missed the start of the season through injury – hardly surprising for a soccer professional blighted by fitness issues during his time at the Emirates – but he came off the bench in last week’s Champions League draw at Atletico Madrid.
He made his Serie A debut on Saturday, though, and marked the occasion with a goal in Juve’s come-from-behind victory over Verona.
Ramsey’s long-range strike may have been deflected but he didn’t care: “I’ve waited a long time for this moment. I’m very happy.”
Juventus were too, given the impressive nature of their new No.8’s all-round display in what was his first start in a competitive fixture since suffering a hamstring injury against Napoli at the San Paolo on April 18.
It was a similar story in Brescia on Tuesday night, with the Old Lady once again winning 2-1, and Ramsey once again drawing praise for his performance.
Ramsey may have arrived late to the party but his arrival couldn’t have come at a better time for Maurizio Sarri.
As the best and most natural winger at the club, Douglas Costa has been key to the success of the Juve coach’s preferred 4-3-3 formation.
So, the loss of the Brazilian to injury in the draw with Fiorentina on September 14 gave Sarri a problem.
Happily, Ramsey has solved it.
His return to fitness has allowed Sarri to switch to a 4-3-1-2 formation in which the 28-year-old has been flourishing.
Ramsey, of course, has been not a conventional trequartista but he has been, as Sarri pointed out in Brescia, the Juve soccer professional “best suited to the role right now”.
It’s difficult to disagree, given there has been no other midfielder at the club with Ramsey’s eye for goal or his excellent sense of timing when it comes to making runs into the area.
Of course, when Costa returns to full fitness in the coming weeks, Sarri may revert to his favoured formation.
However, what’s already clear has been that Ramsey will have an important role to play no matter how Juve line up.
He has been, as he says himself, a “box-to-box midfielder” and, in a 4-3-3, he will be the one charged with joining the attack whenever he can.
Again, it has been a role that he has been better suited to than any other midfielder on the Bianconeri’s books right now.
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As Goal has learned, Ramsey has been already viewed as a key member of Sarri’s squad and has been set to make his third Serie A start in a row when Juve face SPAL on Saturday.
When the former Cardiff star was first unveiled as a Juve soccer professional, he admitted that he would need time to understand what Sarri required of him.
Happily, it already seems that they are speaking the same language – in every sense.