With Serie A champions Juventus set to face Singapore Selection at the brand new National Stadium in 10 days, FourFourTwo are set to welcome this historic occasion by picking the starting XI we'd like to see take the field from both squads.
But here's the twist. Instead of posting our predicted lineups all at one go, Jeremy Lim and Dominic Neo will reveal one member of the team each day, as we count down the number of sleeps till the big match.
Without further ado, we present FourFourTwo Picks: The Right-backs.
All aboard the Swiss Express
Team: Juventus FC
If Stephan Lichtsteiner had to name a song written about his adventures playing on the wing, it would certainly be titled “There and Back Again.” The battery-powered Swiss right-back spends the entirety of each game playing like almost like an all-action winger, transitioning between defence and attack, covering every blade of grass going back and forth.
There is a clockwise regularity in the way Lichtsteiner seems able to get forward and join every attack. Such forays have earned him the nickname “Swiss Express”. Every overlap is executed with classic precision, while his late charges into the opposition box are always - you guessed it — on time. That trait has allowed the 30-year-old to score some notable goals during his three years in Turin. Being able to write history by netting the first Serie A goal at the new Juventus Stadium in 2011 ranks as the most memorable so far.
With the physical attributes of a mountain man, Lichtsteiner’s sense of adventure and ceaseless reserves of energy patrolling the right side continue to establish him as the archetypal modern full-back. Juventus’ success began when they brought the Swiss Express to Turin in 2011, and it’s unlikely they’ll be getting off anytime soon.
More reliable than the MRT
Team: Singapore Selection
At right-back, the Singapore Select side has Shakir Hamzah. Hailing from a football family — his father and older brother have represented the national team too — this versatile defender is able to play all across the back four. An astute reader of the game, the committed young man has impressed national team manager, Berd Stange, with his tactical versatility. An 'important' and 'very talented player', Shakir has won 8 caps since 2012. Not bad for a 22 year old.
This young-defender is known for his pace too — an important trait in a team looking to play quick transitions and high-tempo possession-based football. Very much the modern full-back, Shakir is able to bomb up and down the flank all day long. He is an equally tenacious and uncompromising tackler too — Radamel Falcao is among the many forwards who have had a first-hand taste of Shakir’s feistiness.
Although an unfortunate incident temporarily affected his burgeoning football career last year, the LionsXII star has shown great character to recover from it. A solid, flexible option for both club and country, Shakir’s future is as bright as he wants it to be.
FourFourTwo will be at the Singapore Sports Hub on August 16 to watch the Singapore Selection take on Juventus FC. Will either Lichtsteiner or Shakir be key? You'll only find out if you join us there! Tickets to the match - priced from S$45 to S$180 for adults and S$30 to S$45 for children – are still available at Sports Hub Tix (www.sportshubtix.sg).
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