Those who know me a bit, are aware of the fact that I am a BIG Juventus fan. A passion that goes hand in hand with the love I feel for the team’s hometown: Torino. Still, despite the fact that I have lived in Torino for almost half a year, I never managed to watch the legends play in their own stadium. The closest I got, was attending the Piemonte derby Torino vs Juventus, which Juve also lost…
It was a Friday evening in December, when Shirley and I were having dinner at a fancy French restaurant in Berlin, called Sucre et Sel. We were celebrating my birthday and I was asked to close my eyes… the first present: a romantic weekend for two in Torino! This always makes me happy. When wine was served, Shirley popped up another present and again asked me to close my eyes. When I opened them, a card mentioned that we would not only be visiting Torino together, but ALSO attending a match to see Juventus and Ronaldo play! The present touched my heart and I literally cried from happiness.
Dollar signs turning a surprise into stress
Ok, before we fast forward to the experience, there was a moment that suddenly caused us stress. Due to TV rights and the final of the Supercoppa Italia played in Saudi Italia (ridiculous!), Juventus had decided to postpone the match to a couple of days later! This suddenly turned a gesture of romance into lots of stress, as flights, hotels etc. were already booked.
The most annoying part of it all was that Juventus did not mention the reschedule of the match on their own website, but every other channel did. Many calls were made with Juventus, an appeal for the ‘kind heartedness’ of Easyjet was made… and with an additional € 160 we finally managed to get back on track again. And all this because of the big bucks a club wants to make with playing an Italian soccer match in the Middle East! Ufff.
In the heath of the night
Shirley booked our stay at the Hotel Astoria in Torino, which was in the city center. Quite fancy and comfortable, but…. with a heating in the room that was sending us around 28 degrees (!!) of warmth constantly, unable to switch it off! Thus we were forced to sleep with the balcony doors open in the middle of winter (and Shirley of course got sick when we returned to Berlin).
After some days of exploring the city and enjoying the hospitality of the locals and their shops, restaurants, bars and chocolate ice cream parlors – don’t miss out on I Tartufi and GROM! – we finally arrived at Monday Match Day! I can’t remember being that excited since such a long time, I felt like a little kid counting down to the moment to see his heroes up close and personal.
Monday… Match Day!
As it was January and the match would be played at night, we made sure that we would be warm during the match. So we decided to bring the Hotel heater with us. Ok, that is not true. But we did bring our thermo underwear, gloves, winter jackets etc. with us. And off we went, making our way to the Allianz Stadium.
During our travel to the stadium, we met up with a father and son from the south of Italy, who also traveled to Torino just to see the match, and it also was their first time. What always strikes me when visiting Italy, is the kindness of the people. They are always open for helping you with any questions or helping you on your way. The father and son accompanied us to the stadium and it also turned out that their seats were just a couple of rows behind us. Even when left the match, we ran into them again… as if we were traveling with old friends.
I must say that visiting a Juventus match in the Allianz Stadium feels like going to a big concert. The ‘show’ starts with lots of lights and AC/DC’s Thunderstruck booming through the speakers. The crowd screaming for their heroes and cheering at every players’ name announcement. What made this moment extra special, was that Juventus was showing the cup of the Supercoppa Italia they had just won.
With the whistle blow to kick off the match, the crowd suddenly turned extremely quiet. We thought it was a bit boring, but those Italians are experiencing the match with upmost concentration. This is so different with the Dutch or German crowd. And there he was… the magnificent Ronaldo, up close and personal! And for Shirley it was Dybala, the Juve number 10 that makes her heart go boom ha ha. She even got her cheek painted with his shirt number.
Watching Ronaldo score, or not…
It actually is a strange experience watching a match in a stadium, so different from TV. Everyone is so small and you really need to pay attention. There are no replays and it all goes so fast, especially in Italian football. Sometimes it is difficult to get into the game, as you do not see all. BUT fortunately we got to see the one penalty that Ronaldo missed during the whole Juventus season. We hoped to see him score and doing his signature cheer, but this of course was even more special.
Eventually Juventus had an easy night, beating Chievo with 3 – 0. When the match was over, we headed back to our hotel sauna to pack our bags and fall asleep with a cheek to cheek smile. What an experience, how great it was to have seen Juventus live!
It was an early rise and shine for us, as we had to travel back to Berlin again. But we promised ourselves that we would be back in the Allianz Stadium soon.
I am always making jokes towards Shirley about her not begin that romantic, but she really scored quite the amount of point with this surprise. It was such an amazing and unforgettable experience. It seems I will need to catch up with her big time… (suggestions via comments please!)
Juventus scoring a goal (and Shirley going crazy)