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The Lost Jewels of Juventus: Fabian Carini

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"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"

Leon Tolstoi

For me, this quote is also true when we talk about footballers. For every Paulo Dybala, Carlos Tevez or Paul Pogba, we could find a Milos Krasic, Jorge Martinez or Christian Poulsen. We all love the stories of success when Beppe Marotta performs a magic trick and brings the next great bianconeri player to Vinovo.

However, as you already know, the mercato is a tricky and risky business. This new section tries to narrate the dark side of the transfer market, when a player couldn't win a place at Juventus despite his quality or potential. I have decided to begin with Fabian Carini, who was once considered the best goalkeeper of his generation.

Don't get me wrong, Carini isn't a total bust. In fact, he has had some success playing for Uruguay and some other clubs. Nonetheless, it is fair to say, that he didn't fulfill the expectations that positioned him as a future superstar.

We could begin this story in the spring of 1999 in Nigeria. That year, the 19-year-old Carini was the starting goalkeeper for Uruguay in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The South American squad finished fourth in a tournament that was full of future superstars in the sport — Ronaldinho, Julio Cesar, Esteban Cambiasso, Iker Casillas, Rafael Marquez and Xavi Hernández. In that contest, Uruguay beat Paraguay in the Round of 16, thanks to a great performance by Carini during the penalty shootout. Later, the inspired goalkeeper performed brilliantly in the quarter-finals and led the young Celestes to eliminate the powerful Brazil.

All the scouts were impressed by Carini's physical skills and the European heavyweights began to fight for his transfer rights. Months later, the fame of the youngster skyrocketed when he was called by Uruguay's senior squad to play in the Copa America as a starter. In that tournament, he helped his squad reach the final, but Uruguay lost against Rivaldo and Ronaldo's Brazil 3-0.

For a year, the telephones rung incessantly on the offices of Danubio Futbol Club. In December 2000, finally, it looked like Lazio was the winner of the Carini's derby. Nonetheless, the mythical director of Juventus, Luciano Moggi, stole the player from the biancocelesti and brought him to Turin. The Old Lady seemed like a natural fit for "El Facha" — he would learn behind a solid veteran like Edwin van der Sar for a few years; also, his countrymen Daniel Fonseca, Marcelo Zalayeta and Paolo Montero were all Juventus players. Carini arrived in the winter transfer window of the 2000-01 season, but he didn't play under Carlo Ancelotti. Carini's arrival brought controversy to Turin, as van der Sar was having a terrible season for Juventus and the Italian newspapers strongly began to demand an opportunity for the young keeper.

A bianconeri revolution came the very next season. Ancelotti left Juventus and Marcelo Lippi replaced him. Van der Sar was sent to Fulham F.C. and Zinedine Zidane requested a transfer to Real Madrid. Juventus received a king's ransom for the Frenchman and Moggi reinvested that capital in other players. Juventus used Madrid's money to acquire Pavel Nedved, Lilian Thuram and a certain Gianluigi Buffon.

Buffon immediately eclipsed Carini, whose career took a huge blow. Still, the first year behind Buffon wasn't so bad for the Uruguayan jewel. Although he didn't play in Serie A, he was the starter in Coppa Italia and Juventus reached the final against Parma that season. The bianconeri were seeking the elusive silver star. Nonetheless, goals from Parma's Japanese star Hidetoshi Nakata and Junior gave the title to the Crociati.

Carini also had opportunities in the Champions League and he delivered an admirable performance against Arsenal. He denied superbly a penalty kick executed by Thierry Henry and saved a couple of dangerous shots by Frederik Ljungberg. Juventus defeated the Gunners 2-1 in Stadio delle Alpi that year.

In 2002, Moggi decided to loan the Uruguayan to Standard Liège. He played in Belgium for two seasons and his success fired the transfers rumors once again. He even was the starter for Uruguay in the 2002 World Cup thanks to his great presentations. In 2003, he led les rouches to a third-place finish, which gave them a spot in the UEFA Cup.

In the summer of 2004, Carini returned to Juventus, but he didn't stay for long. A few days after his return, Moggi made a trade with Inter. Juventus sent Carini to Milano, in return the Old Lady acquired Fabio Cannavaro. As you already know, Juventus got a future Ballon d'Or winner, but Inter buried Carini behind Julio Cesar and Francesco Toldo on the depth chart.

Carini became a nomad after that trade and from there everything went south. After a short stint with Inter, he played for Cagliari, Murcia, Atletico Mineiro, Peñarol and Deportivo Quito.

Right now, Fabian Carini is playing for Club Atletico Juventud, a humble squad of the Uruguayan Championship. Curiously, one of his teammates is another former Juventus player, Jorge "Malaka" Martinez. Carini, 36, is seeing his career coming to an end. Like Buffon, he wants to play a little more, maybe for a couple of years. His only wish is that his 2-year-old son, Alessandro, could remember him playing professionally.

Fabian Carini will be remembered in Uruguay for his leadership, personality, skills, and penalty saves. Sadly, the rest of the world will remember him for the Cannavaro trade. A curse that will always be attached to Carini's name and career.