My Team & I: Juventus

By Mina Rzouki

Twitter: @MinaRzouki



Mere words will never accurately tell the full story of my love for Juventus and explanations will rarely capture the full range of emotions I feel every time I come across anything that is linked to my beloved Bianconeri.

I grew up as a Laziale. My father was obsessed with the colour blue and I was obsessed with Pierluigi Casiraghi for no other reason except for the fact I thought him to be aesthetically beautiful. Despite never loving them, I am fiercely loyal and the thought of supporting another team was blasphemous. But then I started watching Juventus. I caught myself buying copies of Calcio Italia whenever the Bianconeri were on the cover and when they lost to Borussia Dortmund in 1997, I spontaneously broke out in muffled tears. Before I knew it, I was cheating on Lazio and I had fallen in love with a team who had quietly lodged itself in my heart.

As a romantic, it’s hard not to instinctively submit to the gravitational pull of Juve. They were never simply a football club, they were an institution, a way of life, a philosophy understood and admired by all. Never a side that bought glory, it was a team that built champions. Players flocked to Turin to wear the black and white jersey not for money but for the prestige Juve boasted. They were never a sexy football team, they didn’t bicycle kick their way through Champions League matches nor did they pass the ball in tantalising manner. They were a side built on hard work and discipline; they taught you that anything can be achieved if you set your mind to it. Grinta, passion and organisational structure that blew your mind, Juventus were an organization built on solid and traditional foundations. They believed in Italy, in calcio not football, and were honoured to represent the country and its vision of the sport, often providing the backbone of the Azzurri. Never tempted by foreign influences on the beautiful game whether it be total football or Brazilian Samba, they worked tirelessly for decades to promote the Italian way and most importantly – they succeeded.

You know I always understood why fans chose to support the likes of Milan or Real Madrid. Teams comprised of champions playing sensual football that had fans transfixed and managed by Coaches who revolutionised the beautiful game. I, however, appreciated the way Juve regularly fielded an army of warriors who for 90 minutes irrevocably fought for the pride of Juve and for a legacy that continues to demand full protection. Imagine Miroslav Klose in German colours and you will catch a glimpse of the way the Bianconeri played competitive matches – they morphed into superheroes.

I do not dare say that we didn’t boast the greatest of talents. Names such as Platini, Nedved, Boniperti and Baggio were Champions that had fans across the globe salivating over their performances. But Juventus often invested in nurturing talent, spending less than other big clubs and creating an unconquerable force in the world of football.

Old fashioned values were what made my team different. Coaches lasted for years, players grew outrageously attached and a profit was always made due to wise spending. Much of what makes my team different is down to one family and in particular one man who was the closest Italy ever had to Royalty in modern times. Despite his vast wealth and blue blooded demeanour, Juventus captured his heart in a way that transcended normality. To this day I mourn his death especially because it pains me to think what has become of Juve in his absence – Calciopoli, poor management and a team that regularly suffers from schizophrenia.

Nonetheless, this is my team and I will forever remain faithful to it. It’s been there through my childhood, my awkward teen years, the start of adulthood and it will still be there when I approach my twilight years. It may have lost the sparkle that attracted me to it initially but matches like the one against Milan this season prove to me that somewhere underneath all the poor choices of recent years, Juventus still breathes and its philosophy continues to reverberate in Turin and Italy as a whole.


Without a shadow of a doubt, it has to be Gaetano Scirea. Many would argue that Juventus boasted better players than the sweeper but you would be hard pressed to think of a greater man to have ever donned the Bianconeri jersey. The player was the physical embodiment of Lo Stile Juve – he understood the sport and preserved its values throughout his career.

Elegant, highly technical with a great grasp of tactics, the defender transformed the role of sweeper into an art form. He was regarded as the most dependable player for the Azzurri in the 1982 World Cup and his composed touch and attacking prowess helped Juve to win every trophy possible.

But it was his humanity that propelled him into immortality. There was this story I read about him once that made me cry like a little girl. Supposedly, after celebrating a famous win for Juve, the player recalled feeling guilty as he saw labourers make their way to work in the morning whilst walking home after a night of celebrating. Do players like that still exist? Sadly, they don’t make them like they used to.

Kind, humble and remembered for having never received a red card, his untimely death caused a lot of pain.


You are probably expecting me to tell you about a time that Juve pummeled the opponent but winning came so naturally to Juve that my favourite memories lie elsewhere. If I was to recall my favourite memory, it would have to be the 1997-98 UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Juventus had reached their third consecutive Champions League final and were certainly the greatest team in Europe at the time. They were facing a side that hadn’t won a Champions League since 1966. The Bianconeri marched onto that pitch with 1-0 written on the back of their hands in thick black marker pen. This one picture tells the whole story. That’s who Juve were – the team that won by 1-0, the team that had victory etched into souls.

Moreover, the reaction of Real Madrid when they saw that tattoo will live with me forever. It provoked them to another degree and I’d like to think that they owed their Septima and their consecutive winnings to that provocation. They beat us by that very score-line, 1-0 but seeing Di Livio proudly admiring his hands and fighting on the pitch to ensure it became a reality perfectly depicted the story of Juve.

Everyone wanted to beat Juventus and everyone turned into warriors to overcome us – that’s what Juve can do.


It’s quite tough trying to decide which kit was the best Juve ever had. The one that always stays in mind is the infamous blue kappa Jersey they wore when they won their second UEFA Champions League trophy against Ajax. I remember the picture of Di Livio carrying the CL Trophy and raising it above his head wearing just white underwear and the Juve blue jersey and that image will forever be etched in my mind.

The thing I liked most about it was the star on each shoulder, each star representing 10 scudetti. The thing I liked the least about it was that the Juve badge was barely noticeable up top by the neck.

Having said that, I also loved the pink kit of 97 despite it often being thought of as one of the worst kits ever worn by the Bianconeri. When Juventus first formed, they used to wear pink and only later switched to the Notts County inspired black and white stripes. So for historical reasons, I loved the pink jersey. It carried a little bit of our past and it was also a very Italian look. Liberal and modern and oh so fashionable in the Italian streets, I have to say, I loved it dearly.


Obviously one of the worst things has to be when people refer to Calciopoli when you talk about Juve’s great history. Somehow all of Juve’s past glories and trophies are doubted because of what happened in 2006. It’s a very naïve point of view and highly irritating.

But truthfully the thing I dislike the most about being a Juventina is the general attitude of my fellow fans. Chatting to one of my great friends in Sky Italia, he said he couldn’t handle how cynical Juve fans were but as I was about to leap to their defence, I found myself agreeing. It only takes 2 consecutive losses for the fans to want to burn the stadium down, sack the management and cry foul. Patience is no longer thought of as necessary and there seems to be a real lack of faith in the project and in the Juve brand.

I obviously do not blame them for that we have experienced in recent years but it is rather annoying to have to constantly take a negative approach to being a fan. I love how Milanistas constantly laud their squad despite their many faults and how Romanistas plan their holidays around Roma’s playing schedule. Meanwhile it seems Juventinis these days are simply waiting in the shadows, ready to pounce on any mistake made by Management or the players.

I loved how when I went to watch Juventus play in Craven Cottage, the fans stood up and applauded Fulham. I want to see that more often but I also want to see less abuse aimed at the team and more faith in current management. If you don’t have faith then what’s the point?

Favourite Game?

For me without a shadow of a doubt it has to be the 3-1 win against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League 2003. All three goals were scored in spectacular fashion by three of my recent favourite players of all time, Trezeguet, Del Piero and Nedved. I was living in Madrid and was watching the match in one of the largest football dedicated bars in the Capital and it was the first time in my life I put celebrating Juve ahead of my own life!

It was an end to end game and the first five minutes really set the scene as Juventus went into attacking mode and threatened from the get go. By the 11th minute, Juve were one up thanks to our glorious poacher who scored from a brilliant Del Piero knock-down. That partnership was at its best on the night. Meanwhile, everything was going wrong for Real. Esteban Cambiasso and Casillas ought to have done better to stop Juve scoring, Raul missed the easiest of chances when he was one-on-one with Buffon and Figo ballooned a free-kick that could have well earned them an equaliser.

Juventus were hitting their stride and were a team to admire. Brilliant co-ordination, excellent build up and then the cherry on top… Del Piero scored perhaps one of the most brilliant goals ever just before half-time. It really was il Capitano at his best as he beat two defenders to shoot a low ball and score Juve’s second and the stadium erupted into cheers. Meanwhile the Galacticos saw red, fighting amongst each other and with whomever they came across.

Second half started and Juventus were still in their element whilst Real were sinking further into depression. Ronaldo was doing nothing and Figo took one of the worst penalties ever and had Buffon save it. My heart was beating faster than was humanly possible. A win was looking very possible against a team jam-packed with the greatest of stars. Bet Zidane wished he was still a Bianconero…

Somehow Montero remained on the pitch despite getting far too many yellows whilst doing his best villain impression. But then came that pass, oh that pass from Zambrotta to Nedved who latched onto it to score Juve’s third. I never did quite remember what happened after – such was my delight that I may well have passed out or been punched by a Madridista. I didn’t attend university for days afraid I’d forget that elated feeling. But I do remember, and this is the bit that made me smile, Lippi decided to get a bit defensive with substitutions after Nedved’s goal (we are Italian after all) and yet Juventus remained in control. I only wish Ferrara had played that game.

It was wins like this, when the team worked in perfect unity, celebrating one another and applying both grinta and skill to overcome giants that confirmed me as a Juventina for life. Why would anyone support any other team?

6 Responses to “My Team & I: Juventus”

  1. Excellent piece, my favourite “My Team & I” yet

  2. Really enjoyed the write-up. I’ve always had a soft spot for Juventus.

  3. Yeah it was a fantastic piece & I would like to thank Mina for it.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rav Dhillon and Mina Rzouki, ә‑ˈhm‑ē. ә‑ˈhm‑ē said: really enjoyed reading @Minarzouki's 'My Team & I' via @thefootyblognet […]

  5. really enjoyed this piece. my favourite “my team and I”

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