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Gonzalo Higuaín to Juventus: Smile! Everybody’s watching!

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AC Chievo Verona v SSC Napoli - Serie A Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images

I'm a musician of sorts, and on my way to give a very special performance.

V - V for Vendetta

It’s the conversation that everybody is having, everywhere. You can’t avoid it, you can’t stop thinking about it and, if you’re like me, you’re still struggling to comprehend the gravity of the event. On July 26, 2016, Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín completed his infamous transfer from Napoli to Juventus. It was, and still is, a transfer that sent shockwaves throughout the league and continent.

Although most Juventini on this blog have been fans since the 90s early 2000s, I only became one with the club in 2005. Even though Juve gradually rebuilt its empire after the infamous scandal of 2006, the team was always only considered dangerous underdogs at most. We were respected, but, in my opinion, never truly feared internationally. People never quite got out of their seats for Juve in the same way that they would for the so-called elite clubs like Bayern or Barcelona. It’s something I’ve become used to since I became a fan but heck, I didn’t care. I knew how great this team was and I was always aware of its true strength, as was evidenced by marvelous victories against Real Madrid and Manchester City, and a performance of champions against Bayern München. Better yet, I took pride in this: you patronize us like we’re nothing yet we continually prove you wrong.

Ah, how things have now changed.

This is the first time since I became a Juve fan that the club has made such a monumental transfer. Sure, the Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic transfers were big, but they were purchased for what are, in the context of today’s market, relatively moderate fees (€32 million euros). I’ve grown accustomed to the very quiet, low-key free transfers, loans-with-option-to-buy, and purchases of underappreciated players. This is also a tremendous source of pride for me as a Juventino: we don’t have to break world-record fees time after time after time simply because our competitive advantage allows us to spot talent better, faster, and cheaper than other clubs do (ok, maybe not ALL the time). In light of this, the Higuaín transfer made me feel very… strange.

Is this a sign of things to come?

Are we going to be like everybody else?

Are we going to be part of arms races every transfer window by splashing hundreds of millions of euros for big players?

These are uncomfortable questions to ask because I don’t know how comfortable I’ll be with this type of future. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely delighted to see Higuaín join Juventus. I’m just unhappy about the circumstances in which this happened and the precedent this might set.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt about one thing: the whole world is watching us now. All kinds of (social) media circles and fan groups are buzzing with the news of this transfer. For the first time in forever, it’s no longer this irritating underdog or ‘dark-horses’ chatter. It seems like legitimate fear for a legitimate challenger to the status quo. Again, this feeling is strange and a tad uncomfortable. Like the shy kid at school that strikes gold by somehow befriending the popular kids, the sudden spotlight on Juventus is overwhelming. Am I just seeing what I want to see, am I overstating things, or are things truly changing?

"I get nervous before every performance, but I need that feeling."

Jhin

I hope the players don’t have this type of stage-fright like I do and instead embrace the spotlight, conquer those nerves, and turn them into fuel to extend our domestic domination onto the international scene!

When does a dream become an obsession?

A natural consequence of the Higuaín transfer was the talk about the trophy with the big ears. All the talk within the Juve camp — amongst fans, at least — is about winning the Champions League. However, it was different when it was just us. Now, like I said before, the whole world is watching so the high expectations from within the camp is matched by those outside of it. What was once a dream and an aspiration, has now become a demand and, potentially, an obsession.

You see, I’ve always feared obsessions. They can cloud your judgment, overwhelm and consume you, and cause you to underperform due to the pressure. It becomes a do-or-die situation, an all-or-nothing where the fear of failure overpowers the desire for success. However, obsessions can also push you to reach levels that you thought were never achievable before. So which one will it be?

In the end, only we ourselves can guard against our obsessions.

Arno - Assassin’s Creed Unity

Speaking of emotions, if you thought Juve fans were angry after the Arturo Vidal deal last summer, well then you don’t wanna feel the wrath of Napoli fans — and Aurelio De Laurentiis — right now. These kinds of reactions are, unfortunately, inevitable and predictable. It demonstrates the very delicate nature of the bond between a player and the club, and, more importantly, the bond between a player and the fans. It reminded me that we, as fans, must remember that we cannot let the emotion of the game consume us. These kinds of transfers test the boundaries of people’s emotions and tolerance and it’s up to us whether we rise above the anger or, like many Napoli fans now, let it consume us.

Emotions can grant you strength. But you must never let them overpower you.

Winter Schnee - RWBY

Well, my fratelli, now that we’ve got the world’s attention this season, it’s time to embrace the spotlight, embrace the audience, and put up a performance that they will never forget.