Manuel Locatelli admits he has ‘been a Juventus fan since birth’ and knew he’d join them eventually, even though he has struggled at times. ‘I know what the club thinks about me.’
The midfielder has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Turin towards the Premier League, as Arsenal had already offered far more both as a transfer fee and for his salary when he left Sassuolo in 2021.
However, he makes it clear in a new interview why he turned all that down in order to focus on the Bianconeri and continues to commit his future to the Old Lady.
“Anyone who knows me will say I’ve been a Juventus fan since birth, like the rest of my family, and I remember telling my agent that one day I’d have to join the Bianconeri,” Locatelli told La Provincia newspaper.
“My childhood bedroom still has posters of the old Juventus players on there. My idols above all were Alessandro Del Piero and Pavel Nedved, so much that I showed Nedved the pictures of my room when I had the meeting to arrive in Turin.”
The 24-year-old hasn’t entirely settled in yet and dealt with a few issues during his time in the Juventus jersey, but the Milan youth product has a good head on his shoulders.
“It is a responsibility, because I know that I have potential and know what the club thinks about me. I therefore have to continually prove myself and hope that I am on the right path.
“I have been fortunate, and I will always tell my children this, that I played my first Juventus game in what was also the last for the Bianconeri for Cristiano Ronaldo.”
So far this season, Locatelli has played 17 games for his club between Serie A and the Champions League.
“There was a period when I was struggling to perform at my usual level. It was in those moments that the teachings I received helped me to deal with it mentally, so I didn’t get chewed up by the media machine.
“I know football is like that. You do well one weekend and are the best, then the next performance is poor and you are smashed. So there is no balance out there, you are the one who must keep the balance within yourself. That’s what my parents taught me.”