New Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie has described his move to the Serie A champions as a “dream come true”.
The 22-year-old put pen-to-paper on a one-year loan deal with the Turin giants on Saturday after impressing with Bundesliga side Schalke over recent seasons.
He is the first signing made by new Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo, who took over from Maurizio Sarri earlier this month, as well as the first United States international to play for the club.
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Speaking about the move, McKennie told the club’s website: “I’m very excited. I grew up watching these players, using them in video games, they were my idols. For me it is a dream come true. What comes to my mind when I think of the name Juventus? History, certainly history, and champions of Italy, always.”
McKennie also revealed he has spoken to compatriot Michael Bradley about life in Serie A.
Bradley, now back in MLS with Toronto, played for three seasons in Italy with Chievo and then Roma.
“Being first in something is always something to be proud of,” McKennie said of becoming the first American Juve player. “Bradley told me something about Serie A, it’s a difficult championship and I’m happy to be part of it.”
He also had a message for the Juve supporters, adding: “I tell the fans to expect 100% from me every game, for me it’s all or nothing”.
The loan deal for McKennie is costing Juventus around €4.5 million (£4m/$5.5m), with the club holding an €18.5m (£16.5m/$22m) purchase option plus up to €7m (£6m/$8m) in bonuses if certain performance-related clauses are met. They also have the option to purchase McKennie permanently even if he does not meet those clauses.
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It has been a rapid rise for McKennie, who only made his professional debut for Schalke as a 19-year-old on the final day of the 2016-17 season.
He went on to make 74 more appearances in the Bundesliga over the next three seasons, playing a variety of roles in midfield and defence for the Royal Blues.
At international level McKennie made his USMNT debut in 2017 and has gone on to earn 19 caps for his country, scoring six goals.
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