Juventus: The Last Bastion Against Modern Football
By Érico Andrei

Juventus: The Last Bastion Against Modern Football

More than 40 years ago, when I was still a fresh-faced youngster navigating my first months of primary school, my neighborhood, Mooca—a vibrant enclave in São Paulo rich with Italian heritage—erupted in ecstatic celebration. It was May 3rd, 1983, and Clube Atlético Juventus (not to be mistaken for its more globally recognized namesake) had just clinched the second tier of the Brazilian national league. Although a die-hard Corinthians supporter, I found myself swept up in the celebration. That day, I also became a fervent Juventus supporter — yes, it’s possible to have a divided heart!

Pelé scored here
Plaque celebrating the most beautiful goal score by Pelé

Founded as the sports branch for the employees of Cotonifício Rodolfo Crespi, one of São Paulo’s earliest textile factories, Juventus quickly evolved into a symbol of pride for Mooca's Italian community. The club represents not just our local passion for football, but also a piece of our collective identity.

Our cherished home, the Rua Javari stadium, stands defiantly in a São Paulo otherwise consumed by relentless real estate speculation. It's a living relic of a bygone era—a field graced by the likes of Pelé, who famously declared that his most beautiful goal was scored right here, and Cesar Luiz Menotti, not to mention spawning talents such as Deco, Thiago Motta, Luisão, and Paulinho who have since gained international acclaim.

In today's era, where football stadiums are increasingly styled as impersonal "arenas," attending a match at Rua Javari offers a rare and intimate experience. In a stadium with an official capacity of 4,000, I've lost count of the times I've shouted at the referee or an opposing coach, and given our proximity—less than a meter from the sidelines—they've certainly heard my every word (and occasionally shouted back).

Celso Unzelte and me
The famous Brazilian journalist, and Corinthiano, Celso Unzelte also enjoys watching matches at Rua Javari

Today, as I write from a flight returning from Mexico City to São Paulo, we mark the centennial of my beloved club—April 20th, 2024. Although the years since our 1983 victory haven't been filled with many more trophies, my pride as a Juventino remains undiminished. I’m returning to Brazil donning my latest Juventus jersey, a smile on my face, and hope in my heart for the next century of our club’s story.

Oliver and me, celebrating 100 years of Juventus

"Ou Juve, ou nada!" (Juve or nothing!)