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Mandzukic signs new 2-year contract with Juventus

Juventus v FC Internazionale - Serie A

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 07: Mario Mandzukic of Juventus celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between Juventus and FC Internazionale at Allianz Stadium on December 7, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images )

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Mario Mandzukic has signed a new two-year contract at Juventus, keeping him in Turin through the summer of 2021, the club announced on Thursday.

The 31-year-old’s old deal was set to expire next summer, but his new contract erases his old deal and runs two seasons, squashing any potential speculation of him leaving Juventus either this summer or at the expiration of his old contract.

A towering and tenacious presence up front, Mandzukic has eight Serie A goals and six assists this season, with the score tally second on the Juventus squad behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Since joining in 2015 from Atletico Madrid, “Mr. No Good” has made 159 total appearances for the club, scoring 43 goals and assisting 24 more.

As the official release points out, Mandzukic is a dominant force in the air, winning more aerial duels than anyone else in the league this season with 132. He’s also known as a ferocious defender, contributing at the back whenever able, a rare component for a striker in the modern game. His reputation around the squad has grown to the point where this season, Mandzukic has captained Juventus four times in league play this season, wearing the armband when regular captain Georgio Chiellini is off the field.

While Mandzukic is often listed as the central striker in the formation, he has frequently drifted out wide left this season to allow Ronaldo to flow more centrally. This has not only resulted in Ronaldo exploding in front of net to the tune of 24 goals and 12 assists across all competitions, but has also seen Mandzukic display a positional flexibility not seen before Ronaldo’s arrival when he was tasked with the main striker’s role.

Still, his form has dipped somewhat of late, without a single goal in 2019. He has provided three assists in that time, but has been hampered somewhat by nagging injuries, and he missed last league game against Cagliari with an illness.

Mandzukic has made 89 appearances for the Croatian national team, scoring 33 goals, most notably netting in three of the last four World Cup games last summer as he led the team to the finals. He retired from international play after the World Cup, a move that may help prolong his career as he moves deeper into his 30’s.

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