A left-back has finally been captured and just in the nick of time. Fans breathed a sigh of relief when Juventus announced that they had secured the services of Fabio Grosso from Lyon for €2m with an additional €1m to be paid dependant on athletic performances. Many said that the only thing that would potentially stand in the way of Juventus and success in both Europe and Serie A was the lack of quality with regards to their full-back positions. For a while, the transfer was being described as an impossibility considering that the French outfit were holding out for at least €3m in order to recuperate some of the €7m they initially shelled out for the Italian national. However, thanks to considerable efforts made from the Juventus management and especially Jean Claude Blanc, who used his French contacts in order to hash out a deal, Grosso’s dream return to his home country has finally been realised.
Inter President Massimo Moratti recently noted that the Scudetto appeared to be a two-horse race. And now, with the acquisition of a world champion left-back alongside two convincing performances in their first two league matches, enormous pressure lies on Coach Ciro Ferrara’s shoulders and to put it bluntly, only a trophy will suffice. With the recent departure of Luciano Spalletti from Roma and with Leonardo’s role hanging by a thread considering the thrashing of Milan at the hands of Inter, Ferrara will be keen to prove that he really is worthy of his job.
With friendships aside and to ensure noteworthy results, Ferrara will look to only field the very best and he recently stated that no player’s position on the pitch is safe. This was perfectly demonstrated this weekend when he opted to play Vincenzo Iaquinta instead of Alessandro Del Piero, despite their long lasting friendship. However, when watching the match against Roma on Sunday, the need for a world class finisher was incredibly evident. Whilst Iaquinta and Amauri ran their heart and soul out for the Old Lady, it was hard not to notice the fact that they did not possess the same skills as those the Coach chose to bench. The ex-Palermo striker was perhaps unfortunate not to have scored in the end of the first half, but together with Iaquinta, they squandered plentiful chances in front of goal, which was simply not good enough when playing for a team like Juventus. Diego had minimal chances in front of goal and yet managed to score a brace. Felipe Melo’s one shot at goal, thanks to a wonderful burst of pace from the centre, resulted in Juve’s third. As for the spectators, they couldn’t decide what was more frustrating – the ESPN commentator’s comical pronunciation of Amauri’s name or the player’s inability to put the ball in the net. Perhaps Del Piero is getting on these days but would we have seen the squander of so many chances had he been picked alongside David Trezeguet.
As for the latter, he has rocked the Calcio world Thursday morning when he announced that after having spent 10 years in Turin, he will be departing the Bianconeri next May to return home to either Argentina or France. This comes as a major shock to all Juventus fans as Trezegol only recently pledged his future to the Bianconeri and we are yet to understand the exact reasons behind his decision. Having scored 161 goals, the striker has enjoyed a rather tempestuous relationship with the Old Lady and had claimed many times in the past that he would be leaving only to begin the next campaign in the black and white stripes. As for the fans, they’ll be hoping that it’s simply a case of the boy who cried wolf.
On an end note, September 3, 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Gaetano Scirea, the legendary Bianconeri defender who passed away in a tragic car accident in Poland whilst scouting for Juventus. After two short years playing with Atalanta, in 1974 the iconic footballer moved to the club, with which he would remain with for the rest of his career, Juventus. Blessed with an outstanding ability to read the game, Scirea was renowned for having never been suspended or sent off throughout his long career. Well-known for his gentlemanly behaviour on and off the pitch, he was loved and cherished by all, even those who despised the Old Lady. Scirea won every possible honour with Juventus including all three European Cups and seven league titles and was part of the team that won the 1982 World Cup. He remains an inspiration to all footballers and one who will always be remembered with great affection.
Juventus Club Focus 2009/10
Great expectations – August 21, 2009
When in Rome – August 28, 2009
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire – September 1, 2009
World Champions – One in, one out, one remembered – September 4, 2009