Everybody has one of those jerseys that’s worked its way into the back of the closet because you choose not to wear it all that much in the last few years. It’s a jersey of your favorite team that you thought was a good choice at the time, but as the weeks, months and years has gone on, it’s looked more like a very bad decision in hindsight.
Let the BWRAO roundtable assemble and tell you about ours.
We continue our Jersey Week coverage with exactly what the headline says — the worst jerseys that we have in our closet. There were no restrictions no timetables in terms of what we had to adhere to. No kinds of rules about when this jersey had to be from. It could be from the first year as a Juventus fan. It could be from the most recent one where Juventus decided it would be cool to ditch the trademark stripes for a season. (Nope, still note bitter about that.) But, since nobody on the roundtable is all that old, these are going to be jerseys that you almost certainly remember Juventus wearing over the last decade or two, if not earlier than that.
So, what’s the worst Juventus jersey in the closet of each roundtable participant?
We’re about to find out.
Big Poppa Chuks
Before you throw your collective laptops out the window and lose your collective minds, hear me out. The reason I chose this jersey is because of the somewhat embarrassing story behind it. My brother got me this jersey many, many years ago (probably over 10yrs ago) and when I got it, the first thing I noticed was the tag that said “prodotto ufficiale” (“official product”). I was a teenager at the time so naturally, I was over the moon. “OFFICIAL JUVENTUS MERCHANDISE?! YESSSSS!”
I wore it proudly at school and gloated to my friends about how I had official merchandise of my club.
Only to find out years later that it was the cheapest and most blatant counterfeit product man had ever seen. The material feels tackier than third-hand sweatpants that was passed down from your dad to your big brother to you.
I felt ashamed to a) have contributed to the horrific counterfeit industry and b) done this with the name of one of the greatest Juventus players ever.
Eternal damnation surely awaits my wretched soul.
I could tell you. But I would rather just show you since this jersey actually isn’t technically in my closet anymore. It’s in a big blue box in my garage, but I know it’s there, so I will widen the qualifications of it because it was actually IN my closet up until about a year and a half ago and I ventured into the world of home ownership. (Slight flex, I know.)
As you can probably figure out by the picture above, it’s more to do with the player on the back of the jersey rather than the jersey itself. I was young. I hadn’t ventured into the player kit market outside of the first-ever Juventus jersey I bought. Hey, we all make mistakes, and you have to live and learn.
That said: I was totally in the tank for Raffaele Palladino. So, so, soooooo in the tank.
This jersey, of course, is the one Juventus debuted in its return season to Serie A after being relegated 12 months earlier. It was a quality jersey, one that gave you some pre-relegation memories with the wide stripes as the team made it back to Serie A with Claudio Ranieri leading the way in the fall of 2007.
But Palladino, even as the likes of Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco were out on loan at Empoli that season and showing why they were two of the best young Italian talents at the time, was one of the first youth products where I was like “HE’S GONNA BE GOOD!!” And, as we well know, he turned out to be ... not very good at all.
That 2007-08 season proved to be the last one where Palladino was a Juventus player. I guess he was technically a Juve player for a few more years, but a co-ownership deal with Genoa in the summer of 2008 equated to his days with Juve being over.
Oh well. I guess we’ll always have some of the good times — as few as they might have been.
Basically, like a few of my cohorts here, it’s not necessarily the jersey itself rather than what name and number we decided to get on the back of it. Live and learn, folks, live and learn.
I actually don’t own a bad Juve jersey. I have a rule about printing the name of a player on a kit that pretty much goes like this: “If the player were to leave the club tomorrow, would you be OK with having that player’s name on it?”
This has led to me owning two blank kits, a vintage Alessandro Del Piero jersey and two newer Juve kits with Giorgio Chiellini’s and Paulo Dybala’s name on them. All of them good choices, none of which I will regret.
There have been a couple close calls, I thought about getting Moise Kean’s number instead of the Dybala one and I was so goddamn sure Federico Bernardeschi was going to pan out that I was going to put that 33 into one of the blank kits I own. Turns out, that adidas store not having a credit card reader available at the moment was a blessing in disguise, I guess.
But I can already tell that I’m going to break my rule when Cristian Romero suits up for Juve next season. Romero, currently on loan at Genoa, was acquired by the Italian champs last summer and is expected to join the club for the upcoming 2020-21 season when and if that actually happens. While he is a talented guy, it’s going to be hard for him to actually play all that often with a projected backline featuring Leo Bonucci, Chiellini, Matthijs de Ligt and a recovered Merih Demiral.
So why get a Romero kit? Well, because it;s the first time ever a player on my favorite team actually has my own name. My own, in-real-life last name is Romero, and sure, what if the guy actually playing is not related to me in any way and will probably play sporadically. My name is my name, damn it! That’s the only reason I need to do it.
At the moment, I don’t own a bad kit, but it’s going to be entirely up to the Argentinian youngster as to whether or notI have the first one in my collection in a few years.
I don’t want to call this a worst jersey, because I actually like it and wear it often, but it’s certainly the funniest and weirdest jersey I have, and it has a great backstory.
My friend Tal, who I helped found JOFC Empire State with, has been to Turin several times in the last few years to go to games. This has earned him my undying jealousy. The first time he was there, he was inside a souvenir shop when he noticed a jersey on the wall. It was one of the good-looking knockoffs, a Betclic shirt from the 2011-12 season, and on the back was 27 — KRASIC.
Now, Tal and I have always had a good laugh at the expense of Milos Krasic’s lone season as a regular in Luigi Delneri’s ill-fated 2010-11 season. We particularly love to laugh at what became the soundtrack of that campaign: Del Neri screaming “MILOS! MILOS!” at the top of his lungs while imploring the Serb to get back on defense. We will break into this chorus on occasion when we see a coach gesticulating wildly, or at any mention of either Delneri or Krasic.
Tal registered the presence of the shirt and had a good laugh. When he told me about it when he got back we had a good laugh together. A year later, he went back for his second trip. When he got back, he handed me a gift bag. I rummaged my way through the tissue paper and doubled over laughing when I suddenly saw the word KRASIC staring up at me.
Tal had visited that same souvenir shop again on his second trip. There, sitting in the exact same spot almost exactly a year later, was the shirt. He grabbed it, ascertained that it was my size, and bought it to bring back.
This began something of a tradition, as Tal has since then brought me back other gag shirts based on our own little inside jokes as gifts on his return from other Turin trips. I’ve worn and loved all of them, but that one’s my favorite of the group. I love the weird looks it gets, I love its story, and I love it as a sign of the friendship that has grown between Tal and I over the years—a friendship that started with a casual conversation about a Juve game at the bar and that has now become one I would never do without.
A few things right off the bat: First, I’ve only started passionately following Juventus the last few years, so I don’t have a ton of kits; and second, I’m going to get lambasted for this and I’m totally OK with that.
The kit I’m most embarrassed about is the 2018-19 third kit — the weird grayish thing with highlighter yellow stripes down the side — with a big No. 7 on the back and the name “Ronaldo.” I’m embarrassed both because the aesthetic of the kit is something that has cooled on me over time, but more so because, well, I just am not a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Look, I got swept up in the fervor. I’m not proud enough to avoid my mistakes. I got swept up in the CR7 excitement, and although I never really was a big fan of Ronaldo’s before the Juve stint, I definitely don’t feel like I’m any bigger of a fan after. Juve were winning trophies before him, and Juve will win trophies long after him. He was supposed to take us to the next level, but I haven’t seen that happen. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong, though, and I can at least wear the kit knowing he helped us win the Champions League — even if I find his whole schtick pretty off-putting.