Ask a Juventus fan who the GOAT is, and you’ll probably get a good smattering of the Ronaldo/Messi debate, some homerism when it comes to Alessandro Del Piero, certainly Gianluigi Buffon taking the cake in the keeper department.
But, if you get a big enough sample size, there will probably be one person who throws another name in there: Simone Padoin.
Padoin’s cult popularity amongst Juventini has puzzled many outside of the club, but fans of the Old Lady will always look back fondly on the midfielder’s tenure. He may never have been on a level even approaching elite technically, but in his five years at Juve he worked his tail off every time he came on, wherever he was deployed, and the fans loved him for it. I distinctly remember several looks of complete bewilderment on the faces of Barcelona fans before the 2015 Champions League final as the large Juve contingent at the bar sang “Che ce frega di Leo Messi, noi c’abbiamo Padoin!” in full throat as game time approached. Even after he left the team to join Cagliari, his name never came over the PA system at the Allianz Stadium without being greeted be a roar, and many a cheeky Juve fan will remind others how many more scudetti Padoin has won (five) as opposed to stratospheric players like Francesco Totti (one) and Diego Maradonna (two).
And now, it seems like a reunion may be in the offing.
On Saturday, Padoin popped in to Continassa for a visit as Juve began to ramp up preseason training, and now reports are he may be joining them daily. According to a report from Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) the trip also included a meeting about joining the coaching staff for the upcoming season.
This would presumably be the assistant’s role that was turned down by Andrea Barzagli earlier in the summer. Padoin is apparently looking to embark on a career in coaching, and he believes that learning from a manager like Max Allegri would be a useful first step.
Here’s hoping this report comes to pass, because I for one am very much down for seeing Lord Padoin on the bench every game.