Pjanic: My approach to football…

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Pjanic: My approach to football…

Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic believes his mantra of ‘keeping things simple’ is behind his rise to football’s elite.

Pjanic was considered a direct replacement for Andrea Pirlo when he joined Juve from Roma in the summer of 2016, and the Bosnian explained his approach to keeping the Bianconeri’s midfield ticking over.

“I’m not someone who can do 10 stepovers or backheels – I’m not very interested in that,” he told The Guardian.

“I’m more fascinated by the simplicity of play, because the thing that makes this sport so beautiful. The simplest things are often the hardest. Not everyone can do them.

“I had the good fortune to see players like [Zinedine] Zidane, Xavi, [Andrés] Iniesta, [Andrea] Pirlo up close.

“They all make things simple for their team. They make their whole team play well with little things that don’t always get noticed.

“They reflect on what’s happening and take action to make life easier for guys around them.

“But if you look at Ronaldo when he was in Manchester and then at the Ronaldo who became the best player in the world, you can see his game has changed. His game became more concrete.

“I’ve read a lot of things [Ronaldo] has said about Paul Scholes and how he trained. Everyone talked about Scholes as being extraordinary, but not because he was out there doing dummies.

“By keeping things simple, he made himself special. I think Ronaldo learned from players like that.

“I like to watch teams who play well, ball on the floor, ball to feet, playing well as a collective.

“Napoli, in recent years, have played beautiful football. But a title, a cup, celebrating with your team, making the fans happy, that’s the reward for all the hard work you put in. Something you get to keep.

“When you play well and you don’t win, in the end, you get tired. You’ve lost something. You’ve lost time.

“The Champions League has always been important for Juventus. It is an objective for us to reach the end, to win the whole thing.

“We have a lot of quality and we believe in this group. One step at a time, though. Our objective right now is to finish first in the group.”

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