Merih Demiral wants to live up to the example of his idol Giorgio Chiellini during the early stages of his Juventus career.
Turkey international Demiral joined Juve from Sassuolo in an €18million deal last month – the centre-back having impressed following his move to Serie A from Alanyaspor midway through the 2018-19 season.
The 21-year-old’s style has been compared to former Juventus and Uruguay favourite Paolo Montero.
However, despite arguably posing a threat to the club’s much-vaunted old-guard at the back along with standout close-season recruit Matthijs de Ligt, Demiral insists he need only look to the likes of Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci for inspiration.
“To be compared to Montero is an honour for me,” he said on Tuesday.
“I hope to be able to show the fans that I’m a strong defender and live up to that expectation. My real idols are the players that I’m playing with now, like Chiellini.
“Chiellini and Bonucci have been helping me a lot to settle in here as well as the other players, I hope to learn a lot from them.
“[Head coach Maurizio] Sarri looks over the defensive side of play personally and this allows me to train in the best possible way and work on my weaknesses.”
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 20, 2019
Demiral is the first Turkish player to sign for Juve, something he described as an “absolute honour”, although he is grateful for the presence of Emre Can in Turin – the Germany midfielder of Turkish descent having helped him adjust to new surroundings.
“Emre Can is helping me a lot to settle in both on and off the pitch and I’d like to thank him publicly for that,” he added.