Juan Cuadrado

Juan Cuadrado gained prominence when registering the most assists (four) at the 2014 World Cup with quarter-finalists Colombia.

But in the intervening six years – via a forgettable stint at Chelsea – his decision-making failed to live up to those standards as a World-class winger, settling instead, in his preferred wing-back role.

Up until now. Cuadrado is operating with superb quality and new-found consistency, too.

The Colombian followed up his match-winning two assists in the Turin Derby with his second within a few days for Weston McKennie’s acrobatic volley in the 3-0 win against Barcelona.

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He is the most creative player in this season’s Champions League with five assists in as many games, taking his tally to eight in 14 games in all competitions.

Safe to say his productivity was key in Juve attaining first place ahead of the Catalans in group G.

What then, has changed for Cuadrado?

Arthur, Miralem Pjanic and Juan Cuadrado
BARCELONA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 08: Miralem Pjanic of Barcelona (centre) is challenged for the ball by Arthur (L) and Juan Cuadrado (R) both of Juventus F.C. during the UEFA Champions League Group G stage match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou on December 08, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Andrea Pirlo tweaked Juve’s three-at-the-back system by switching Danilo to right centre-back as opposed to the three natural centre-halves. The reward for that is the meanest defence in Serie A

As against Barca; Danilo, Leonardo Bonucci, Matthijs De Ligt, and Alex Sandro form a comfortable back four while Cuadrado provides the width in their 3-5-2 system which becomes a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 on the ball, with the Colombian offering a very wide option in transitions.

His crossing and quick feet also provide consistent service for the aerial threat of Álvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo – or any midfielders making a run into the box. Juve’s dependence on this tactic was all too clear in the home fixture against Barca where Cuadrado was responsible for three decent assists for Morata which were all ruled offside. 

Key Player

Pertinently, Cuadrado’s consistency is one of the main reasons behind Morata’s increased efficiency in front of goal since returning to Juve, having laid on three of the striker’s UCL goals. The Spaniard is the highest goalscorer in the Champions League this season (six) and could have had more.

Juan Cuadrado and Cristiano Ronaldo
Cuadrado’s work rate and industry is appreciated by talisman Ronaldo. (Getty Images)

The 32-year-old’s relentless energy and work rate up the right channel is perfect for the Bianconeri. As Cuadrado is always there to stretch opponents wide even when he’s playing with a winger ahead of him.

Ronaldo grabbed the headlines for his brace – in one of his final meetings with eternal rival Lionel Messi – as he so often does after Juventus games. However, it is the impact of Cuadrado going forward which bears the most positivity for The Old Lady. 


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.


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