The “Vecchia Signora” Back in the Fold of Elite Football
27 April, 2015
Turin has two football teams – Torino FC, and the more famous Juventus FC. Most Turinese are Torino FC fans, despite the fact that Juventus is far better known around the world. Witnessing either of them playing a home match is quite an experience. But, let’s focus on the latter, as it has now regained its place among the finest teams and because it’s playing style is dazzling.
The Juve or Vecchia Signora – “Old Lady”, as it is known among the Turinese, shuns the customary dictates of the catenaccio – the typically Italian, ironclad defensive system – instead engaging in a more flashy, attacking play more in keeping with Dutch or English football teams.
The 80s – Italy Sparkles; Turin Sets the Play
Juventus lived out its golden age in the nineteen eighties, when its lineup featured such figures as Michel Platini, who was awarded three Ballon d’Or in a row and captained his French national team to its first European title win in the 1984 European Cup. But, Platini was not the only major figure in that prodigious team. Also playing in that squadra were the likes of Stefano Tacconi, Cesare Prandelli, Zbigniew Boniek, Massimo Bonini, Gaetano Scirea, Sergio Brio and Antonio Cabrini. And, that in itself was nothing! Indeed, that squad of soccer wizards achieved what no other team had managed before – they won all possible international titles in a single year. In the 1985–1986 season, they lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup (against Oporto), the UEFA Super Cup (against Liverpool), the UEFA Champions League – then known as the European Cup – (also against Liverpool) and the Intercontinental Cup (against Argentinos Juniors), a feat that has only since been equalled by the Guardiola-era FC Barcelona. Italian football was then at the pinnacle, way ahead of the rest. On a national level, its team had won the World Cup at Spain ‘82 while, on a club level, with Juventus and, later, AC Milan, the Calcio’s hegemony of Europe lasted until well into the following decade. In those days of slick football, Italy was on the lips of everyone. The boot-shaped country became the favourite European holiday destination; its fashion, led by such brands as Versace, began to set global trends, while even its music, in the form of Italo-disco, crowded out the first positions on continental hit parades.
Tears, and Some Joy
The distinction of being the club that has lost most Champions League finals earns it a special place in our heart. While the eighties saw it rolling in celebrations and titles, the nineties were more of a torment. It wasn’t until eleven years later that the Bianconeri managed to win Europe’s major football competition, and that was after a penalty shoot-out against Ajax; but, it was all misery thereafter. They lost three finals in the space of seven years – against Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and AC Milan – while their supremacy in Europe fizzled out. That is, until this season, when they are again peerless Italian league leaders – they are more than ten points clear of the second placed team – and have once again classified for a Champions League semi-final, something they hadn’t achieved since 2003. What is this success down to? A combination of veterans –Buffon, Tévez, Pirlo– and new talent –Morata, Fereyra, Pogba. But, part of the reason lies with their coach, Massimiliano Allegri, who in his first season has set a seal of versatility on a team capable of attacking and defending at will.
The City of “Le Zebre”
Turin is a city that effectively revolves around its most international football team. The Calcio is still the favourite topic of conversation at any of its markets, cafés and restaurants. But, where you breathe the purest footballing atmosphere is of course at the Juventus Stadium. Located at 50 Corso Gaetano Scirea, this spectacular colosseum designed by the architect, Gino Zavanella, was unveiled in 2011 to replace the historical Stadio delle Alpi.
The stadium houses the J Museum, one of the most important soccer museums in the world. It was inaugurated on 16 May 2012 and comprises several rooms exhibiting trophies awarded to the club, as well as jerseys worn by the leading footballers in Juve’s history, and interactive areas full of historical photos of the Turinese club.
The area surrounding the stadium is traversed by a Walk of Fame featuring the names of the fifty most famous players inBianconerohistory, as elected by Juventus fans via the club’s website. Among the most illustrious names we find historical figures of world football such as Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane, Michel Platini, David Trezeguet, Alessio Tacchinardi, Dino Zoff, Alessando Del Piero and Pavel Nedvěd.
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Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Images by Juventus FC, forzaq8
27 April, 2015