Dusan Vlahovic made Juventus history by striking inside the opening minute of their Champions League clash with Villarreal on Tuesday.

The Serbia international, who was making his debut in the competition after moving from Fiorentina last month, put the Bianconeri ahead after just 32 seconds at El Madrigal.

Controlling Danilo's long ball before slotting past Geronimo Rulli, Vlahovic became only the third player to score inside the opening minute of his first Champions League start.

Following in the footsteps of Andreas Moller (for Borussia Dortmund against Juventus in 1995) and Ishak Belfodil (for Hoffenheim against Manchester City in 2018), Vlahovic's was the fastest Champions League goal by a debutant playing for Juve.

Only the second Juve player to score in the first minute of any match in this competition – after Alessandro Del Piero against Manchester United in 1997 – the 22-year-old also became the first to net on his Bianconeri debut in the modern knockout-stage format.

It was the earliest goal in a Champions League knockout game since David Alaba struck against Juve after just 24 seconds for Bayern Munich in 2013.

Massimiliano Allegri remains optimistic about Juventus' chances of succeeding in the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.

The Bianconeri occupy the final Champions League qualification spot in Serie A, three points ahead of fifth-placed Atalanta, who have a game in hand.

Allegri's team struggled to find their feet at the start of the season, but they are now unbeaten across seven games in all competitions, including a 2-1 win over Sassuolo that booked their spot in the Coppa Italia semi-final - where they will meet Fiorentina across a two-legged tie.

While the 54-year-old has repeatedly quashed claims that Juve could mount a late charge for the Scudetto, he suggested his side fancy their chances in the other two competitions they are in.

"We play to win, both the Cup and the Champions League, then obviously it all depends on how things go," Allegri told reporters ahead of Tuesday's away first-leg clash with Villarreal in the Champions League last 16.

"How does our approach change with the new away goals rule? I don't know yet, in the meantime let's think about getting a result.

"Order, technique and patience: it is unlikely that the next round will be decided on Tuesday. The derby [a 1-1 draw with Torino] was a hard-fought game, Juve played a good game, but you always need to be calm and balanced in the analysis.

"At the beginning of the season against Torino, we would have lost. I'm happy with the team's approach, so I want to see them play well with and without the ball against Villarreal. We will have to be both good and lucky."

Juve's upturn in form has coincided with the January signing of Dusan Vlahovic, who moved from Fiorentina in a deal that could be worth up to €80million.

However, Juve will be without talisman Paulo Dybala – who leads the club scoring and assist charts this season (12 goals, six assists) – after the forward sustained a muscle injury against Torino.

In the Argentina international's absence, Allegri confirmed that new star Vlahovic will be supported by Alvaro Morata, who has scored in two of his last four appearances against Villarreal in all competitions (two goals).

"Alvaro Morata and Vlahovic play up top, then let's see for the rest," he continued. "I have some doubts in midfield.

"We must not give an excessive load of responsibility to Vlahovic - this is his [Champions League] debut, let's not forget that. I must also protect him as I have done with others. He is just 22 years old."

Allegri has progressed from four of his previous five round-of-16 ties in charge of Juventus in the Champions League, with his only elimination coming against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, Villarreal head coach Unai Emery has only won one of his six games as a head coach in the knockout stages of the competition (D1 L4), losing each of the last three in a row, but Allegri reserved praise for his opposite number.

"It is not an easy tie - Villarreal have a good coach, they have technique, physicality and also they have come from a good period," he added. "On our part, we will have to bring maximum effort."

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri insisted that a 1-1 draw with Torino at Allianz Stadium on Friday continued his team's "positive streak".

The hosts took the lead through a first-half Matthijs de Ligt header, but Andrea Belotti equalised just after the hour mark and Juve struggled to create any meaningful chances in response, failing to hit the target at all in the second half.

The Old Lady remain in fourth place in Serie A, eight points behind leaders Milan having played a game more, and just three points ahead of Atalanta in fifth, who have two games in hand.

Speaking to DAZN after the game, Allegri appeared to be satisfied with both the result and performance.

"It matters because, with the point, we followed up on the positive results we've had in the last two to three months," he said. "It wasn't easy, we weren't brilliant compared to Torino, but we played a good game.

"Paradoxically, we conceded a goal in our best moment. In the first half we had two or three situations where we could have scored, but not in the second half.

"Then we weren't very clean in the second half, but I think it's a normal path, it's natural when you're playing in the league, especially when you're aiming to be in the top four, so a draw isn't to be dismissed.

"I'd say the boys played a good game in terms of commitment and intensity. They tried to win until the end, so it's a point that we take home and allows us to extend the positive streak."

Allegri also seemed unconcerned by the performance of Dusan Vlahovic, who struggled to make an impact, having just one shot all game before coming off in the 74th minute.

The Serbia striker made a January move from Fiorentina in a transfer that could be worth up to €80million. 

"He struggled because he's a very good player, but he has to learn a lot," Allegri added. "As many players have to learn. Tonight, he had to drag Bremer around the pitch and not give him any points of reference, because he is very strong on direct balls and less strong when you drag him around the pitch.

"Let's not forget that he comes from a team who are having a very good season, but he played one game a week. He's played six [here], so I think it's normal for him to grow. It amuses me because someone comes in and has to play every game.

"You have to grow, you have to get used to it, all the things you need in a great team, otherwise physically you can't manage to play a game every three days."

Daniele Rugani was withdrawn from the starting line-up ahead of the game after picking up an injury in the warm-up, while Luca Pellegrini and Paolo Dybala both came off with knocks, but Allegri did not seem concerned despite the upcoming Champions League round-of-16 first leg away at Villarreal on Tuesday.

"I'm not worried at all also because during the season there are injuries and those we have and who are fit and enlisted, will play on Tuesday against Villarreal and then we will prepare for Empoli," he said.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed new signings Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria but acknowledged his side were lucky to edge past Sassuolo in the Coppa Italia. 

Paulo Dybala fired in the opener at the Allianz Stadium after just three minutes in Thursday's quarter-final, but Hamed Traore soon restored parity 

Allegri's side twice struck the woodwork in the second half, with Matthijis de Ligt missing a gilt-edged opportunity, but a late winner arrived when Vlahovic's effort deflected past Gianluca Pegolo after an attempted Ruan block. 

Victory meant Juve have qualified for the Coppa Italia semi-finals in seven of the last eight seasons, while no side has made it past the quarter-final stage on more occasions than the Bianconeri (10) since the 2006-07 season. 

Much of the credit Allegri gave to his players after the game was aimed at new additions Zakaria and Vlahovic, the latter of whom made a January move from Fiorentina in a transfer that could be worth up to €80million. 

 

"We are happy with the signings of Vlahovic and Zakaria, who have integrated well," Allegri told Mediaset. 

"We are happy to have Vlahovic, who still needs to improve as much at attacking the depth better, but this is part of the improvement of each player.  

"We also had luck after a good second half, their goal made us leave the game but then we woke up." 

Juve's fortunes have slowly been changing. They have won nine of their 13 games since the start of December and have moved up to fourth in Serie A – eight points behind leaders Inter, who have a game in hand. 

But when asked if Juve could make a late charge for the Scudetto, Allegri swiftly dismissed the suggestions: "We are potentially 11 points behind Inter.  

"We have to make the race against Atalanta and we will have to be ready: it will be head-to-head until the end. The others are out of reach." 

Vlahovic may take the plaudits, including from Allegri, for his role in the winning goal, but he failed to replicate the form he showed when scoring on his debut against Hellas Verona last Sunday. 

The striker missed the target with three of his five shots, while also squandering a glorious first-half chance, but the Serbia international expressed his satisfaction with how he is settling in as he heaped praise on his attacking colleagues Dybala and Alvaro Morata. 

"We are only at the beginning, but as I said last time, I owe a lot to my team-mates, to the coach, to the whole club, who have welcomed me very well, they are helping me a lot," Vlahovic said. 

"It would not have been possible without the team. For me it is an honour to play here, to help my team-mates and to be available to the team. 

"They [Dybala and Morata] are two very good guys, after great champions, great players, they have won a lot. I'm the youngest, I'm here to listen to them and try to reach their levels." 

The Bianconeri will look to continue their fine run of form when they return to Serie A action against fellow top-four contenders Atalanta on Sunday. 

Dusan Vlahovic is not giving up hope on winning the Serie A title after helping to fire Juventus into fourth on his Bianconeri debut on Sunday.

Vlahovic joined in the January transfer window in a big-money move from Fiorentina and marked his bow with the opener in a 2-0 win over Verona.

The victory left Juventus eight points behind leaders Inter, beaten by rivals Milan on Saturday, although the Nerazzurri have a game in hand.

The Serbian was pleased to have helped his side to three vital points and says Juve have to have belief they are still in the race for the Scudetto.

"It was very important to win this match because these games after the [international] breaks are the most difficult mentally," Vlahovic said to DAZN after the game. "We had a good approach right from the start and in the end, we managed to do what was most important, to win.

"I have to thank my team-mates and the coach who welcomed me very well and helped me a lot, I'm trying to understand as soon as possible how it works here, I just have to continue like this and work harder. The most important thing is to have won today.

"Juve always thinks about the highest goals, when they start a competition they always do it to win. I'm here to give my maximum contribution, match by match, and at the end of the season we will do the maths."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri, however, suggested the top three are the only contenders.

"The Scudetto? It concerns the three in front, Inter, Milan and Napoli," Allegri said to DAZN. "We must take one step at a time. We now have the goal in our sights. The Coppa Italia and a place in the Champions League: 80 points are needed."

The Bianconeri's next Serie A fixture - after their Coppa Italia quarter-final against Sassuolo on Thursday - is a crunch clash with Atalanta on February 13, who are two points behind Juventus but with a game in hand.

Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria both scored on their Juventus debuts as the Bianconeri beat Verona 2-0 on Sunday.

The former joined from Fiorentina in a big-money January deal, while the latter arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach on the cheap with six months left on his contract.

Free-scoring Vlahovic was the first to get on the scoresheet, lobbing into the far corner in the first half, before Zakaria sealed the victory with a low effort

The victory lifts Juventus ahead of Atalanta and into fourth in Serie A, although the latter have a game in hand.

Vlahovic opened his Juventus account – and the scoring – with a delightful chip over Lorenzo Montipo after racing onto a Paulo Dybala throughball in the 13th minute.

The new arrival was a constant menace, taking three shots in the first half – more than any other player – but was unable to add to his tally of 18 Serie A goals before the break.

Zakaria joined the Serbian in netting on his first Bianconeri appearance, getting onto Alvaro Morata's pass in behind and rifling a low shot into the bottom-left corner.

The Bianconeri enjoyed less of the ball than their opponents despite being at home, but Verona rarely threatened the Juventus goal and never looked like mounting a comeback.

What does it mean? Bianconeri unbeaten in 10 league games

Juventus extended their Serie A unbeaten run to 10 games, winning seven and drawing three of those.

The Bianconeri endured a poor start to the season, but have since put together a strong run of form and are now fourth, although Atalanta have a game in hand and are just two points behind.

Vlahovic can't stop scoring

Vlahovic has now scored 18 league goals this term, only fewer than Robert Lewandowski (24) in Europe's top five leagues in 2021-22.

Double delight for debutants

Vlahovic and Zakaria are the second pair of players to have both scored a goal in their debut match for Juventus in Serie A in the three points for a win era (since 1994-95), after Arturo Vidal and Stephan Lichtsteiner against Parma in September 2011.

What's next?

Juventus host Sassuolo on Thursday in the Coppa Italia quarter-final, while Verona face Udinese at home next Sunday in Serie A.

Dusan Vlahovic got his move to Juventus because he and his "dishonest" agents wanted to "ruin" Fiorentina, according to the club's president Rocco Commisso. 

Serie A champions Juve shelled out an initial €70million to sign Vlahovic from Fiorentina last Thursday, beating off competition from Premier League sides Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle United. 

The Serbia international only had 18 months left on his contract with the Viola, who were keen to avoid losing their talisman for nothing at the end of next season. 

Commisso believed Vlahovic had long had an agreement in place and was ready to run down his contract if a move to Juve could not be agreed. 

“In November I came back to try to finalise the contract, but his agents were dishonest and liars," Commisso told the club's official website. 

"We had a good meeting, I expected a positive response for the morning after to sign the contract. Instead of what he had decided, he asked for double. His agents then asked for more. They also wanted a 10 per cent cut of the transfer fee and exclusive rights to negotiate his next move. 

"It was clear to everyone he already had a deal with someone. He said no to every offer. We went to England to deal with Premier League teams and returned with various proposals, but he and his agents always said no. 

"In my opinion, the goal was to run his contract down and ruin Fiorentina. The agents thought he could go for nothing and make themselves rich." 

Vlahovic has scored 17 goals in 21 Serie A outings this season, putting him level with Ciro Immobile at the top of the scoring charts. 

Dusan Vlahovic is "emotional and proud" to have signed for Juventus, declaring the move an "easy" decision despite rival interest and backlash from Fiorentina fans.

Vlahovic moved from Fiorentina to Juve for €75million in the biggest deal of the January transfer window.

The 17-goal striker – tied with Ciro Immobile at the top of Serie A's scoring charts – was said to have turned down approaches from Arsenal and Newcastle United before heading for Turin.

That was a call that frustrated Fiorentina supporters, who have grown used to seeing their top players poached by rivals Juve.

The Curva Fiesole group described Vlahovic as "another small man without b****, without honour and without respect" and "a coward" for joining the Bianconeri.

Presented as a Juve player on Tuesday, however, Vlahovic was delighted with his choice.

"I am emotional and proud to have signed for Juventus," he said. "I am ready to give my all for this glorious club to reach its objectives.

 

"The choice was easy. The Juventus DNA: the desire to fight, to never give up, to aim to be the best – all these elements are also part of my character. I fit in here.

"I want to the thank the president and everyone else who made this move possible."

Still, Vlahovic had a word for Fiorentina, adding: "I want to thank everyone at Fiorentina who helped me mature and make me the player I am today."

The 22-year-old was the most sought-after forward last month, but fellow superstars Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are expected to be on the move later in the year.

As Vlahovic seemingly emerges as a challenger to those two as his generation's top talent, he said: "I am following my own path. How far I'll reach, I don't know, but I'll give my all to achieve as much as possible."

Dusan Vlahovic has been labelled a "coward" by Fiorentina ultras for joining fierce rivals Juventus.

The Serbia international completed a €70million switch between the Serie A sides on Friday, the day he turned 22.

Vlahovic had previously turned down the offer of a new contract with Fiorentina, forcing the club's hand somewhat as he had just 18 months to run on his existing deal.

After reportedly rejecting proposals from Premier League sides Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle United among others, Vlahovic instead opted for fellow Italian club Juventus.

Having also lost Federico Bernardeschi and Federico Chiesa to Juve in recent years, Vlahovic's choice of club did not go down well with Fiorentina's devoted supporters.

The Partizan Belgrade academy product's home is reported to have been under surveillance in the days leading up to the transfer, while some fans took to the streets to protest.

And in an open letter released on Saturday, fans representing the Curva Fiesole group took aim at Vlahovic, president Rocco Commisso and director Joe Barone.

"So it's the usual, another small man without b****, without honour and without respect who goes to a club with no identity or sense of belonging," the statement read.

"Another ownership that after expressing its love for the Viola people, does what all their predecessors did: sell our best players to our historic rivals. 

"We're no longer surprised by anything and certainly won't tear our hair out having lost yet another buffoon."

 

Commisso recently criticised Juventus for their financial mismanagement, and the Fiorentina ultras felt he could have done more to block the move going through.

"We ask you president, what did they tell you to convince you to do such a thing?" the statement added. "You, who told a child you would not sell any more players to Juventus. 

"Congratulate Barone. He must've been convincing to tell you who knows what to talk you into an operation that, yes, brought in money but made you lose face in front of an entire city and beyond.

"How is it possible that you decided to do deals with the ultimate evil of that system that until the other day you fought against? 

"We thought, with pride, that we'd left behind the dark period of sales for profit and deals with those who shall not be named, only to go straight back into it.

"A city that had totally embraced your battles and would've continued to embrace you in future, but now feels abandoned and betrayed."

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has converted 28 big chances since the start of 2020-21, more than any other player in Serie A, while the 33 league goals scored in 2021 matched Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most in the Italian top flight during a calendar year. 

In a final dig at Vlahovic, the letter concluded: "We aren't prepared to watch our passion be trampled on, as your transfer market people don't seem to represent your way of approaching this adventure with us. 

"Our final message is for the squad, who are what really matter right now. You've proved that you have guts, we are with you. More battles await us and hopefully we'll prompt some regrets for those who left in the night like a coward."

Fiorentina have swiftly secured their replacement for Dusan Vlahovic after signing Brazilian Arthur Cabral from Swiss side Basel.

Vlahovic moved on to Juventus on Friday for an initial €70million, bringing an end to a saga that saw the 22-year-old targeted by a host of Europe's richest clubs.

Losing his services means Fiorentina were left with a gaping hole in their forward line, given Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

Now they have a player they consider capable of making a major impact himself, with Cabral, who inherits the number nine shirt from Vlahovic, having shown prolific scoring form in the Swiss Super League and the Europa Conference League.

Announcing the deal, Fiorentina said: "ACF Fiorentina is delighted to announce the signing of Arthur Mendonca Cabral from FC Basel 1893 on a permanent transfer."

Neither side has disclosed the fee involved, although reports in Switzerland have put it around the €16.5million mark.

Cabral scored 65 goals in 106 matches for Basel, also assisting 17 times, and this season he has managed 27 goals and eight assists in just 31 games.

He came to Basel in August 2019, initially on loan from Brazilian giants Palmeiras, before the move was made permanent at the end of his first season.

In 2021, he was named the Swiss Super League's player of the year after helping Basel finish second in the table to runaway champions Young Boys.

Cabral joins a Fiorentina side who sit seventh in Serie A, just outside the European places, with Vincenzo Italiano's men next in action on February 5 when they face eighth-placed Lazio.

It wasn't so long ago that the notion of Juventus hoovering up talent from Serie A rivals would have been seen in a negative light by most Italian football fans.

But while their domination of Italy's top division only really ended last season when Inter brought the Bianconeri's nine-year subjugation of Serie A to a halt, their current situation would make you think it was far longer since they were a challenger.

When the season resumes after this international break, Juve will go into their next fixture at least 11 points off the top, down in fifth. For years their recruitment has been muddled and misguided, with Aaron Ramsey's fringe squad status the perfect embodiment of that.

But Dusan Vlahovic's arrival shows there is life in the Old Lady yet, and given the striker's rise to prominence, this move is also potentially massive for Serie A in general.

Fiorentina hadn't been shy about their desire to cash in on the Serbian, who turned 22 on Friday. They have been very public about how they simply could not afford to lose out on a transfer fee, a situation that was quickly threatening to become a real issue given his contract was due to expire in 2023.

Pretty much all of Europe's biggest clubs were linked with Vlahovic at some point over the past 12 months, and for a while most people's money would have been on him moving to England.

"Oh, another emerging talent scurrying off to chase the big bucks of the Premier League, how predictable," many 'calcio' fans were presumably muttering to themselves as… *checks notes*… Arsenal and Tottenham circled.

As the story reportedly went, Vlahovic's agent didn't seriously consider those two in the end. Whether it might have been a different story for Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United or even Chelsea is unclear, but a coup it remains for Juve.

Vlahovic's impact on Italian football, particularly over the past 18 months, has been significant. Some have suggested he's Serie A's answer to Erling Haaland – perhaps a slight exaggeration, but there's a reason Juve are investing in a guy who in 2021, let's not forget, became only the second player in the past 60 years to net 33 Serie A goals over a single calendar year.

Juve's attraction to him makes absolute sense when you consider a metric as reductive – yet, crucial – as goals. Following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit last year, the Bianconeri were left with a gaping maw in terms of finishing ability. The faith placed in Alvaro Morata to pick up the slack was as optimistic as it was naive, as the Spaniard has five in 22 Serie A games.

Vlahovic should, in theory, provide them with a number nine who is dedicated to goals. As Fiorentina's focal point this term, he has recorded 87 shots (second-most among Serie A players) and scored 15 non-penalty goals across all competitions.

Some might point to the fact those 15 strikes are a considerable increase on his non-penalty xG (expected goals) of 10.2, and there's obviously a chance he won't prove to be quite so clinical for Juve, but it clearly shows they are buying a player brimming with belief.

Similarly, being surrounded by better players in Turin may mean Vlahovic doesn't have to try as many low-xG shots. A quick look at his shot map in Serie A this season shows a significant variation in goal distances, which obviously has an impact on his xG per shot, which is 0.11 (excluding penalties).

That may not mean anything in isolation, but when you compare that to Tammy Abraham's 0.18, there's quite a gulf. The England striker seems to be better at getting into clear-cut goalscoring situations, but if Vlahovic is already proving this deadly from worse positions, imagine what he could do if he improves.

It's worth noting that by no means does Vlahovic only have eyes for goal. In fact, among 'conventional' strikers in Serie A this season, only four – and Paulo Dybala, nominally a creator anyway – have had more involvements in shot-ending sequences without taking the shot (45).

That speaks to Vlahovic's link-up play and his effectiveness at knitting attacks together in the final third, a skill that is not to every striker's liking. Yet he manages to fulfil this function without it being to the detriment of his goals output.

At Juve, assuming he links up in attack with Dybala, there may be less need for him to get as involved and that could potentially be how he improves his record of getting into higher xG situations.

It's fair to assume Juve would see that pay dividends on the goals front, given he already only averages 2.2 touches per shot inside the box – that's only fractionally more than Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo and Haaland (all 2.0), showing how he's more of an instinctive finisher than the likes of Mohamed Salah (3.1) and Kylian Mbappe (3.3), who are more about dribbling and beating defenders.

The fact is, Vlahovic still has elements to his game that could still improve, yet he's already performing at a high level. He may be young, but Juve have signed a player who can go straight into the team, which will presumably start being built around him.

Whether Massimiliano Allegri is the right coach for this new Juventus is another debate, but the acquisition of Vlahovic could be a game-changer.

At the very least, it's a genuine boost for Serie A to keep arguably its finest young player in the league despite the Premier League waving its vast sums in his direction.

With Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku gone, Vlahovic is surely primed to be Serie A's new poster boy.

Juventus have completed the signing of highly rated Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina for a fee of €70million.

The striker, who turned 22 on Friday, agreed to a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Bianconeri and passed a medical.

Juve will pay the €70m fee over three financial years, plus additional costs of €11.6m. A further €10m will be due to Fiorentina should Vlahovic meet certain sporting objectives.

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe after his impressive form over the past two seasons.

Vlahovic joins Massimiliano Allegri's Juve team, who have often struggled to turn possession into goals this season, having scored just 34 times across 23 Serie A games.

That means their attack is the 11th-best in the league, way behind leading scorers Inter (53), while Fiorentina have scored 41 times so far with Vlahovic on board.

Serbia international Vlahovic, who joined La Viola from Partizan in 2018, has converted 28 big chances since the start of last season, more than any other player in Serie A.

 

His tally of 21 goals during 2020-21 was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25).

Vlahovic also netted 33 league goals in 2021; matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most scored in the Italian top-flight during a calendar year. 

Last week, Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone confirmed the club were open to selling Vlahovic, who subsequently missed Sunday's draw with Cagliari due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Vlahovic's arrival in Turin may pave the way for Alvaro Morata to leave Juve, with Barcelona reportedly keen on signing the Spain international, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Every league seems to have those teams that just produce talent on an apparently non-stop basis, before those players inevitably get picked off by the bigger boys.

In Germany, you can't move for former Schalke or Stuttgart players. There's Lyon and Monaco in France, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia in Spain, Southampton and Aston Villa in England.

In Italy, that team is probably Fiorentina, who are in the same position once again after La Viola sold star striker Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus in a €70million deal.

Stats Perform takes a look at some of the biggest names in Italian football who made a name for themselves with the team from Tuscany, and what they went on to achieve in the game.

 

Roberto Baggio

Having begun his career at Vicenza, The Divine Ponytail's move to Fiorentina saw his star rise as he spent five impressive years in the purple shirt.

However, after he helped Fiorentina to the 1990 UEFA Cup final, only to be defeated over two ill-tempered legs by their great rivals Juventus, salt was very much rubbed into the fans' wounds as the Bianconeri paid a then world-record fee to take Baggio.

Reports claimed that fans hurled bricks, chains and Molotov cocktails at Fiorentina's headquarters, and for the two days after the transfer was announced, club president Flavio Pontello took shelter in the stadium, with 50 injuries and nine arrests recorded.

Baggio would only improve his reputation further at Juve, winning the UEFA Cup in 1993, before securing a league and cup double two years later, scoring 115 goals in 200 games across five seasons before moving to Milan, where he won another Scudetto in his first year.

After being dismissed by Fabio Capello at San Siro in 1997, Baggio had an impressive season at Bologna where he scored a personal best 22 league goals, before moving back to the city of Milan with Inter.

Things did not work out at the Nerazzurri but he still went on to enjoy four final seasons in Serie A with Brescia, where he reached double figures in each campaign before retiring in 2004.

Gabriel Batistuta

There is arguably no more iconic player in Fiorentina history. A striker who football fans of a certain vintage remember banging in goals on Sunday afternoons during the nineties.

Unlike most of the players on this list, Batistuta actually spent the majority of his career at Fiorentina, staying for nine years before his big-money move to Roma.

The man affectionately known as 'Batigol' remains the club's record goalscorer with 159 goals in 198 games, though it does help his record that people like Vlahovic are usually sold before they can get anywhere near that total.

Though he had won a Coppa Italia, Batistuta wanted a Scudetto and moved to Roma in 2000 in order to get it. It was the highest fee ever paid for a player over the age of 30, a record which stood until Leonardo Bonucci moved to Milan from Juventus in 2017.

It seemed like a justified move when Batistuta scored 20 goals, including netting against his former club, on the way to winning the title in his first season in the Italian capital, but was unable to reach those heights again, scoring just 11 over the following season and a half before a loan move to Inter.

Rui Costa

The Portuguese maestro had made a name for himself at Benfica before moving to Italy in 1994 and making 230 appearances in seven years with La Viola, winning two Coppa Italia titles.

However, like Batistuta, Rui Costa was moved on for big money to try and help the club's finances, ending up at Milan for a then club-record fee of around £35m.

Rui Costa spent five years at San Siro where he won six trophies, including the Champions League in 2003 and Scudetto a year later. He moved back to Benfica in 2006 after the emergence of Kaka saw his minutes reduced.

Federico Bernardeschi

Bernardeschi came through the youth ranks at Fiorentina, with big things expected of him as he burst onto the scene after an impressive loan at Crotone in Serie B in the 2013-14 season.

During three years in the first team, Bernardeschi scored 23 goals in 93 games and registered 11 assists, which unfortunately for Viola fans saw old enemies Juve come swooping in again.

He has claimed three Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia trophies in Turin, as well as being a part of the Italy squad that won the rescheduled Euro 2020 last year.

Bernardeschi, who has scored just 11 times in 170 games for Juve, largely remains a squad player under Massimiliano Allegri, in part because of this next man...

Federico Chiesa

Another Fiorentina youth product, Chiesa had all eyes on him as soon as he broke through due to being the son of former Viola and Italy striker Enrico Chiesa.

Chiesa Jr made his first-team debut, somewhat ironically, against Juve at the age of 18, and over the next couple of years began to establish himself as the potential future of the club.

More suited to playing out wide than his father, who was a traditional central striker, Chiesa's managed 34 goals and 19 assists in 153 games at Fiorentina but it his tenacity, pace and skill that sets him apart.

That was enough to tempt – yes, you guessed it – Juve to come along and take him on a two-year loan, with an obligation to make it permanent at the end of the current campaign.

Chiesa had an impressive first season at Juve, including scoring the winning goal in the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta, before starring for Italy in their successful Euro 2020 campaign, scoring twice in seven appearances and making the team of the tournament.

He started 2021-22 in sharp form, only for a serious knee injury to end his season early.

 

There also must be honourable mentions for the likes of Luca Toni, whose emergence at Fiorentina earned him a lucrative move to Bayern Munich, and Francesco Toldo - he was sold to Inter at the same time that Costa was packed off to Milan to ease club debts.

Juan Cuadrado (now at Juventus) and Marcos Alonso were both sold to Chelsea for decent money two years apart, while Felipe Melo (Juventus), Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) and Matias Vecino (Inter) continued Fiorentina's philosophy of buying low and selling high.

The path well-trodden out of the Stadio Artemio Franchi has often led to bigger and better things, and that bodes well for Vlahovic now that it appears he will be the next in line.

He seems to have all the tools to be the star striker this current, rather dour, edition of the Bianconeri require. Indeed, Vlahovic's 33 goals in Serie A last season matched the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo at Juve in 2020.

It might be tough to take (again) for Viola fans, but if history is anything to go by, their next hero won't be far away.

Of course, he'll probably also sign for Juve eventually, but that will just be a case of crossing the Ponte Vecchio when they come to it.

Juventus have completed the signing of highly rated Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina for a fee of €70million.

The striker, who turned 22 on Friday, agreed to a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Bianconeri and passed a medical.

Juve will pay the €70m fee over three financial years, plus additional costs of €11.6m. A further €10m will be due to Fiorentina should Vlahovic meet certain sporting objectives.

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe after his impressive form over the past two seasons.

Vlahovic joins Massimiliano Allegri's Juve team, who have often struggled to turn possession into goals this season, having scored just 34 times across 23 Serie A games.

That means their attack is the 11th-best in the league, way behind leading scorers Inter (53), while Fiorentina have scored 41 times so far with Vlahovic on board.

Serbia international Vlahovic, who joined La Viola from Partizan in 2018, has converted 28 big chances since the start of last season, more than any other player in Serie A.

 

His tally of 21 goals during 2020-21 was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25).

Vlahovic also netted 33 league goals in 2021; matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most scored in the Italian top-flight during a calendar year. 

Last week, Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone confirmed the club were open to selling Vlahovic, who subsequently missed Sunday's draw with Cagliari due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Vlahovic's arrival in Turin may pave the way for Alvaro Morata to leave Juve, with Barcelona reportedly keen on signing the Spain international, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Dusan Vlahovic is primed to complete his move to Juventus after arriving for his medical on Friday.

The 21-year-old striker is set to seal a reported €75million switch from Fiorentina, which looks likely to be confirmed before the weekend.

Juve posted a tweet showing the Serbian arriving to undertake the formalities of his move.

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe after his impressive form over the past two seasons.

Vlahovic will join a Juve team who have often struggled to turn possession into goals this season, with Massimiliano Allegri's men having scored just 34 times across 23 Serie A games.

That means their attack is the 11th-best in the league, way behind leading scorers Inter (53), while Fiorentina have scored 41 times so far with Vlahovic on board.

Serbia international Vlahovic, who joined La Viola from Partizan in 2018, has converted 28 big chances since the start of last season, more than any other player in Serie A.

 

His tally of 21 goals during 2020-21 was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25).

Vlahovic also netted 33 league goals in 2021; matching Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most scored in the Italian top-flight during a calendar year. 

Last week, Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone confirmed the club were open to selling Vlahovic, who subsequently missed Sunday's draw with Cagliari due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Vlahovic's imminent signing may pave the way for Alvaro Morata to leave Juve, with Barcelona reportedly keen on signing the Spain international, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

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