I want you think go back 10 years when the times around Juventus weren’t actually very good at all. (And when, you know, they actually played games in April and May.) Think back about who was on Juve’s roster, how bad that team was and how we knew that drastic change needed to happen.
Think about the man who wore the No. 3 jersey. That’s Giorgio Chiellini.
Think about the man who was one digit higher in the No. 4 jersey. That’s Felipe Melo.
Got it? Good, good, good.
Why am I bringing these two guys up? Well, it’s because Chiellini has penned an autobiography, which isn’t surprising seeing as he’s a total nerd and he probably wrote it during his first month off after suffering a major knee injury back in August. (I don’t know if that’s actually true, but when it comes to Giorgio Chiellini, these kinds of things can never truly be ruled out.) It is in that autobiography where Chiellini has said some things that has gotten a good amount of headlines in Italy. Some involved the always-controversial Mario Balotelli, although that short-lived beef between two very different kinds of personalities has apparently been squashed already.
The other headline grabber has involved the two guys in the picture above — Chiellini and Melo. And, while there may be peace between Chiellini and Balotelli for the time being, the same certainly CANNOT be said about Chiellini and Melo.
First, how we got here — the excerpt from Chiellini’s book. It says:
“I was really let down by two players and I confirm everything I wrote in the book. Balotelli is a negative person, with no respect for the group.
However, there was someone worse, Felipe Melo: really the worst of the worst. I cannot abide people who lack respect, those who always want to be contrarians. With him around, it was permanently likely to break out into a brawl. I told the directors that, too: he is a bad apple.”
(Source: Football Italia)
And we’re off, folks!
That was last weekend. It didn’t take long for Melo to fire back:
“When I was in Turin, I never lacked respect for anyone: teammates, directors or Juventus in general. At this point, though, I have no respect for him. And I never will have. He says Balotelli should be slapped and I am the worst of the worst who always risked sparking a brawl? Well, he was always a coward who’d wet himself… Besides, it’s too easy to be nasty about someone in a book. Perhaps ‘this defender’ is still angry with me, because when I went to Galatasaray, we gave his Juve some ‘slaps’ and knocked them out of the Champions League. Or that Inter won everything and I am an Interista. This is what Chiellini is like, he always acts as if he’s the greatest… I am also reminded that we beat Italy 3-0 in the 2009 Confederations Cup, won eventually by Brazil. Perhaps he’s still bitter about that too, seeing as he’s won nothing at international level with Italy.”
(Source: Football Italia)
Since that lengthy quote from Melo — one of the biggest transfer busts in recent Juve history — he has gone on to do the following:
- Post on Instagram about Galatasaray beating Juventus in that awful, awful game in the snow.
- Go on Instagram Live with former Fiorentina teammate Sebastian Frey and bash Chiellini again because he just wanted to add a little extra fuel to the fire. Melo claimed that Chiellini has a problem with him because the former headbutted the latter in a game against Siena.
- Say that, less than two months before he turns 37 years old, that he would be happy to sign with Juventus again because he wants to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. (Because THAT is what Juve’s midfield is missing right now!)
Who do we give the advantage to? Well, let’s just say that one of these guys has a lot of credibility and the other has ... about the opposite of credibility based on how quickly he went from standout in the 2008-09 season with Fiorentina to being shipped out of Turin by Juve’s new front office team after his second year at Juventus.
You can disagree with the way that Chiellini went about bringing all of this on himself. It’s not exactly his style to call people out when he’s off the field. (On the field, however, you’re more than open to becoming the next Philippe Mexes.) Chiellini is very much the businessman off the field as his economics degree says that he is. He’s a both a regular kind of guy, but also a very intelligent one who is a leader of men and continues to be one despite the fact he has spent much of this currently suspended season on the sidelines due to major knee surgery.
It’s not a fair fight. It’s Juve’s captain stomping on a €25 million mistake from the never-to-be-brought-up-again days of Alessio Secco making the transfer decisions. Melo can point at Chiellini and yell “HE STARTED IT!!” as much as he wants, but the fight was over before it really even started.
If you’ve got it, break it out, kick your feet up and do some reading.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the amusing part in this isn’t necessarily what Chiellini had to say in his recently released autobiography that got all of this started and brought Felipe Melo back into our lives for the first time in years. It’s the fact that, 10 years after that Secco-sized mistake, Felipe Melo is suddenly back in our newsfeeds and doing, well, exactly what you would expect Felipe Melo to do.
It’s cheap entertainment, sure, but it’s entertainment.
We don’t have a lot of that right now in Serie A, and for that I guess we can at least have a few laughs at the expense of somebody who made us feel the exact opposite during his short but (not very) memorable time in bianconero.