I hate summer. I especially hate this summer. It’s ADP-free, which is unnatural. Juventus canceled its summer tour of North America after I already had the fu**ing tickets to see them at fu**ing RFK stadium in Washington, DC. Only one person — a stranger — has remarked on my new tattoo, thereby reinforcing my impression that I live in a parallel dimension that seems like I’m on the same planet as everyone else, but really not so much. It has been hot, mosquito-ridden, and power-outaged, and every week I get a dozen zucchini in my farm box. Who can eat twelve zucchini a week? Honestly.
There are signs that the summer is winding down. Last week, I only got two zucchini. My tomato and basil plants are starting to croak, my beagle is more willing to go outside to perform his bodily obligations, and the Italian Juventus-hating Media-Industrial Complex is finished threatening to mess with Juve and has gotten down to the serious business of actually messing with Juve. In a warped way, all the hate is reassuring: it says that they are worried about us. As they should be. Although if they all just shut the hell up, that would be nice too.
But now the new season has finally begun.
★ ★ ★
This is Leo BONUCCI, celebrating with demented euphoria after scoring a goal against Palermo last spring. And that is pretty much how I felt when I found a stream for the Serie A opener between La Viola and Udinese last weekend.
TANGENT: OMG Jojo is good. Are we absolutely sure we can’t get him?
We’ll turn the page on Summer 2012 when the mercato closes in a few days, but while we’re waiting to see if we’re really going to get that important striker (I’m guessing not), let’s look at what the Zebes did during their summer vacay.
First, the Juventus museum opening. Aaaaaannnndd, this photo shows why I love/hate Simone Pepe. That photo in the background is just about my favorite. It’s September 2011 and Lichtsteiner has just scored that goal in the home opener against Parma and the whole squadra has pounced on him to create an epic manpile. They’re all squirming and wriggling and climbing all over each other like a bunch of puppies. There’s Ale and Lichtsteiner on the bottom, Claudio and Giaccherini are in there, Pirlo’s there, Matri’s there, Paolino and Chiello arriving a little later (cuz they were defending, duh), and What Ho! Simone Pepe is in on the love too! Yay! A wonderful photo of a wonderful moment. Pepe has excellent taste to bring this excellent photo to our attention. And he’s smiling nicely in the foreground and so forth.
But he ruins it. He’s blocking our view of the best part of the scrum, which is bad, and he’s pointing at himself. Hey! Everyone! That’s me! I was there! He’s needy and desperate for us to notice him which, ew.
Shut UP! and do as I say, not as I do. Ahem.
So then we started up with the mercato and signed two of Udinese’s best players, Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah. Asamoah has immediately jumped to the top of my list by wearing that Freddie Mercury t-shirt. Keep it up, bro.
As for Isla, well…
OK, so he’s not Italian, and he never grabbed my attention while he was at Udinese (which doesn’t mean much), but he’s got a sincere smile and a twinkle in his eye, so he starts with a clean slate.
We also signed Paul Pogba from Man U. The fact that he comes from Man U is supposed to be meaningful, like it says something in particular about his quality. I’m not so sure. Sir Alex Ferguson, after all, has kept Kiko Macheda, so I say we can’t necessarily assume that Saffie’s judgment is infallible. At any rate, look at those long, strong, delicate fingers! And he is absolutely rocking the bleached faux-hawk *coffcoffMARIOcoff*.
So there were the Euros, where the Zebra-led Azzurri did better than expected (Note to Prandelli: Less Juventus = More Fail) and the squadra went away to their annual ritiro at Chatillon/St.Vincent.
Behold! Our Number Two and his chorus line of emergency back-up baby keepers!
Marco Storari, looking like his mother made him slick his hair down for his elementary school photograph.
Leonardo Citti, unknown to Wikipedia. I think he’s on the Allievi (U-17) squad, and he’s got that stretched-out, unfinished look of an adolescent, but baby Zebras really aren’t my department. Go ask Adam Digby (@adz77).
Laurentiu Branescu of the Primavera.
Nicola Leali, new signing from Brescia.
Masi signing autographs, looking a wee bit overwhelmed by all the attention. It sure as hell wasn’t like this at Pro Vercelli.
Quags is not overwhelmed, but he’s not wearing his real smile, so you can tell he’s unhappy. That, my friends, is the same PR smile he pulled every time they made him pose for the glorious display of Tom of Finland-style PG-13-rated homoerotica known as the annual SSC Napoli calendar.
[TANGENTS: (1) ILU Martha. (2) If you Google "Tom of Finland," be very very careful which links you follow. I'm serious. Unless you aren't at work and dude-on-dude is your thing, in which case, we'll still be here when you're done over there.]
Anyway, back when the fangirlz still hated Quags, this skeevy non-smile was one of the reasons. Now we know he can smile for real, when he feels like it.
Mmmmmm. Martín Cáceres.
Oh, God. Pepe. Why can’t you just train like everyone else? Why’ve you got to be such a ham?
[Because that's why we love him – Ed.)
I see Mirko Vucinic spent the summer smoking weed. That facial hair is reprehensible and can only be explained by the heavy use of recreational drugs. Combine the 'stache with the Hey Baby! expression and you get Please Pass the Eye Bleach.
Allrighty then Mr. Padoin. Very heroic pose. Maybe this is the year you win me over, but, I have to tell you, wearing the cursed #20 jersey really doesn't give me much confidence.
So after the Chatillon ritiro, Juve's Azzurri-contingent came back from their extended holiday break to join the rest of the squad.
Storari: Dude. Gigi: 'Sup bro?
As of the Trofeo TIM, Michele Pazienza was still here, as was Reto Ziegler:
Um, so was Krasic, but let's not dwell on that.
And then there was a lot of drama and moaning over whose stupid idea was it to play the Supercoppa in China anyway, but in the end, everyone flew to Beijing.
Gigi emerged from the plane as he always does, like a boss, looking fresh and relaxed and way cool. And not at all like he spent the flight getting... um... "special attention" from the flight attendants, because to suggest something of that nature would probably get me censored.
[Indeed it would. We've installed a "Dirtbunny alarm" here at JuventiKnows for such occurrences – Ed.]
Pirlo arrived in nearly as good condition DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THAT BEARD although he might have benefitted from a hot towel just before landing.
Have you noticed the sunglasses on these guys? Beautiful classics, unlike, say, Lapo:
“Best Dressed” my pimply white ass. Thumbs down on the zebra shades.
Oh, Pepe. What are we going to do with you?
The Juve tifosi in China were very happy to see their idols.
Eww. I can’t draw, so maybe I have no grounds to complain, but those are terrible likenesses.
Others paid tribute to five very special zebras, one of whom was not accused of nonsensical nonsense.
STILL HERE, BITCHEZ! 10 MONTHS ON BOGUS CHARGES! IS THAT THE BEST YOU’VE GOT?
WE LAUGH AT YOUR SAD LITTLE VENDETTA.
Stephan Lichtsteiner isn’t exactly press-friendly, is he? Me neither. Good for him.
Oh yessss, pour that water Leo. Pour it. [Dirtbunny Alarm: DING DING DING DING... – Ed.]
And at some point, I think it was in China but it might have been some other time, not that it makes any difference, the senior Zebes went to a doohickey in honor of new sponsor Hublot, Swiss watchmaker.
Gigi is miffed that his time is being wasted in this way. He’s not even pretending to look interested.
You’re the capitano now, pal. Ale used to have to do this shit all the time. You’ve managed to avoid this sort of thing for a pretty long time (when’s the last time you appeared to present a new kit, for example?). Well, how much is your freedom worth to you?
Your contract is up for negotiation. You can bargain over how much of this you want to do. Just remember: They dumped Ale. No one writes his own ticket any more. Right, Andrea?
Andrea: *sleeping with eyes open*
Show the product Gigi. No. Hell no. Fu** you all.
Gigi: Psst. Andrea, you like Rolexes? I know a guy who can get you a great deal on a Rolex…
Andrea: *snicker* You keep forgetting that I’m way richer than you. Show the product so they can take their pictures and we can go back to the hotel and prank Mirko.
Gigi pouts and Andrea resumes sleeping with his eyes open and soon the demons of commerce have been temporarily appeased and it’s over.
Gigi: You said it was over. This is bullsh*t.
Eventually, a football match was played and Juventus won the Supercoppa, but only because they cheated and the refs were incompetent/bought, at least according to every non-Juventino source I’ve encountered.
And Napoli threw a big hissy fit and had a big sulk in the dressing room, which is fine because now that Lavezzi has gone to PSG, Inler is the only one I want to see with his shirt off anyway, and it’s not like it’s all that hard to find nekkid photos of Inler whenever you want.[We apologize for yet another dark introspective look into the dirty mind of Dirtb... oh never mind – Ed.]
Oh yeah. Lúcio. He’s ours now, but he just got broken, so I spose it’s lucky that we didn’t pay anything for him. Question: If religious faith is not expressed in a t-shirt-based medium, does it exist?
And after China, the ragazzi came home to Vinovo and so forth.
Chiello posed with the Supercoppa.
Man, I sure do hope that Vidal is really as nice as he seems to be by that amazing smile. If it turns out that he traffics in Afghani boys and stolen plutonium, I’m going to be really disappointed. [.... – Ed.]
Sebastian Giovinco. Yeah, well, when you only weigh a buck twenty-five, you have to work overtime to look tuff.
Andrea Barzagli, just quietly going about his business, doing what he do without being a whore about it, Pepe.
Chiello: Not now, Dirtbunny. I’ve got training. I’ll come see you later.
And then the pre-season finished off with the Trofeo Berlusconi, which Juventus won. Of course, because if there’s any trophy you really want to win, it’s the cursed one.
Awww. Claudio and Paolino having a hug. I love these guys so much. *sniffle*
And Capitan Claudio lifts the meaningless
trofey. Wait, that’s not spelled right at all. Since when do I have trouble spelling that word? *with great shame, looks it up* trophy. Well, it may be in honor of the Berlusconi dynasty, which is not something I can entirely endorse, but it is big and shiny and pretty.
You know, I bet Juve has a special room in the basement for all the meaningless trophies. The Scudettos and Champions League trophies and so forth have a nice cabinet somewhere, but all those hundreds (I presume) of cups from pre-season friendly tournaments? I’ll bet they just open the basement door and chuck the new ones down the stairs after the others. *tumble tumble tumble tumble CLANK!*
★ ★ ★
And that’s the short and subjective version of the Zebra Summer. On to the Serie A season.
This post was powered by bug spray, Diet Coke, and vegan chocolate chip cookies.