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Reverse football – By Fabrizio Baricchi

I present to you a lineup featuring historic champions of the Old Lady. Who knows if you remember them? Those who have a True Love have a long memory…

Here they are:
Zoff – goalkeeper
Gentile – right-back
Cabrini – left-back
Bonini – defensive midfielder
Brio – sweeper
Scirea – libero
Marocchino – right-winger
Tardelli – left inside forward
Paolo Rossi – center forward
Platini – attacking midfielder
Boniek – left-winger

I would like to mention all the substitutes (who could have easily been starters in any other team), but that would take us off track.

These were the years of “man-to-man” play, also known as Italian-style football, which showcased the world’s best defenses, far from the zone defense of Cruyff’s Netherlands.

In Italy, after the game, there wasn’t a part of an attacker’s body that was unscathed. Our defenders were beasts on the field but gentlemen (almost all of them) off the field.

I could list many characteristics of each of these champions, but that’s not the point of this reflection: the football of that era is completely different from what modern coaches of every team are proposing today.

The nostalgia for the warm and reassuring trattoria sometimes catches us in this world overrun by football chefs who feel the need to rewrite all tactics, reinvent everything, and stand out from the crowd. A bit like great chefs experimenting with absurd combinations: for every one who manages to “win” a Michelin star, thousands of others seem more like “amateurs.”

So, at this point, I think we often cross the line of common sense and normal life in the pursuit of this “new football,” and almost everything has changed.

In the game of football, the great connoisseurs at the helm of various management structures no longer seem to be animated by the same pleasure, passion, and humility in the service of a higher good. Nowadays, almost everyone aspires to a political appointment where they work less and earn more, and the sacrificial victim to be immolated on the altar of this selfish and personal end is football, now fallen into complete chaos.

In the matches we witness today, it seems like referees are forced into Machiavellian interpretations of vague rules, technologically advanced tools that, by the way they are (or are not) used, generate more doubts than certainties.

A total chaos that leads to a climate of suspicion, accusations, and frustration among the players, but especially among the fans.

And there’s the brawl on the field, the ones at the rest areas, injuries, vehicles destroyed by rocks, beatings, and much more.

On the field, aggression is always on the rise, players have few reference points besides the coach; they must play with fire, not to mention the behavior among players on the field, coaches, and referees, with conduct that only a few decades ago would have been deemed intolerable!

In the meantime, those who should maintain order think about their own political growth, the only North Star: their own needs.

Dear Bianconeri brothers and sisters, is this the football we want? The one that made us fall in love when we were kids? The one that made us spend our weekly allowance to buy trading cards?

I say it: NO

I mentioned that Juventus lineup earlier because, first and foremost, they played for the love of this sport, the smell of the grass, the long and intense training sessions, which were necessary.

The champions of that time were not paid even close to what young players are today, who, as soon as they come up from an Under-23 team, have agents ready to discuss contracts, money, bonuses, and anything else possible for their clients.

And the world of these young players changes, sometimes without them even being prepared or aware.

The team I listed earlier had to earn everything on the field, with the game, with a passion for that kind of football, with fighters illuminated at times by some technical brilliance. Today is the exact opposite; everything seems owed just because you’ve reached “there.” Then we’ll see.

How do you feed chaos in a system? By tearing down its reference points, undermining every certainty, breaking the walls of the most important palaces.

And there’s no doubt that, love it or hate it, that reference point in Italy can only be called Juventus.

The most winning team ever, the one with the most titles in our country, the team with the most fans, where some of the world’s best players have played.

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, it is constantly vilified, insulted, and denigrated by figures who should be impartial, but thanks to the guilty inattention of those involved in politics, of those venting repressed fandom from years of defeat, of journalists who can “finally” (for them) write what they want in a partisan manner, wallow in this chaos, fueling hatred and divisions, disregarding the truth that they constantly bend to gather some pitiful clicks.

Add it all up, and you’ll discover the reality of our football.

As we often say: it’s time to decide whether to be victims of this system or architects of the change we want. Whether to passively endure this climate, lowering ourselves to the level of those who vomit hatred on social media like others, or to unite together for a higher purpose.

Fino alla fine… ma è solo l’inizio!

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