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What if Juventus players didn’t play soccer for a living?

Imagining non-sporting careers for our favorite Juventus players.

Juventus v UC Sampdoria - Serie A Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Time’s wingèd chariot canters ever forward: despite the mountain of squad construction the Old Lady must climb before the beginning of the season, we are suddenly less than 50 days away from kicking off the next campaign against Udinese on Aug. 20. And although, in the throes of summer, Juventus are buzzing with news around purchases, sales, consternations, coaches, a new sporting director, I grow weary of the imaginative conjecture required at this juncture to delve into tactical possibilities.

So: a different project. A different reality. A game.

If these Juventus players weren’t playing soccer (get over yourself; it doesn’t matter what you call it), what might they be doing? Here’s my best guess.

Wojciech Szczęsny: stand-up comedian

He’s the Polish Mitch Hedberg. He smokes cigarettes in the shower. He may or may not owe Messi some money. On the pitch, Woj has done a phenomenal job replacing arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time; off the pitch, he’s an absolutely endearing, jovial character who, in another life, would be a splendid comic.

Carlo Pinsoglio: club promoter in Las Vegas

While I myself would rather lose a digit than confront the noise, lights, and boisterous interactions of a Las Vegas club, this is Carlo Pinsoglio’s home turf. With the tattoos, the shades, and the personality that everyone, CR7 included, seems ineffably drawn to, he would be a local celebrity who regularly linked arms with giants. Indeed, he pretty much already fits that description.

Danilo: statesman and philanthropist

With the cool-headedness one desires in a leader, Danilo would be a natural head of state. Upon retirement, I imagine him opening his hand wide to give back to the people. Truly a man of the people, an inspiration.

Federico Gatti: bricklayer

What a stellar CV Gatti would have for this position.

Leonardo Bonucci: surgeon

Bonucci seems like the kind of guy who would be good at bossing nurses around and then swooping in for the critical moment to take all the glory. I don’t mean that in a mean way, but I also do admit I’m not a big fan of doctors in general. I don’t know what it is; seeing Leo in scrubs just wouldn’t surprise me.

Daniele Rugani: headmaster at the Milford School in Arrested Development

You can always tell a Milford man. Children should neither be seen nor heard.

Manuel Locatelli: sommelier at Michelin-rated restaurant

You’ve just sat down to a lovely dinner with your date or spouse or friend or whomever you take to lovely dinners, and you’ve requested to consult the sommelier for your wine selection. The menu is challenging but tantalizing, and you’re looking to pair a wine with the multi-stage feast on which you’re about to embark. In steps Manuel, who, decked in a neat black suite, listens attentively and gravely to your plight, guiding you so delicately in your choice of a wine that you feel, in the end, that you made the decision. A master.

Adrien Rabiot: influential equestrian trainer

Besides the persistent horse-Rabiot artwork and graphics, the French midfielder seems like the sort of guy who would buy a massive beautiful estate somewhere in Loire or Piedmont or Sardinia, build a state-of-the-art stables and training facility, and just walk around in fancy clothes in a dignified manner and every once and a while get on a horse and trot around. He would become world-famous in a world in which I can’t name a single person famous for stuff related to horses.

Nicolo Fagioli: male model slash Italian spy

Why male models? Young Nicky Beans is probably smarter than Zoolander, but he’s just as handsome. By day, he walks the runways of Paris and Milan. By night, he does fancy spy things to keep Bel Paese safe. Let’s start the TV show!

Federico Chiesa: Formula 1 driver

Chiesa seems like an F1 driver because even without wheels, he drives very fast. I also think it’s incredibly easy to imagine him getting in a wreck, angrily exiting his vehicle, throwing off his helmet and berating another driver.


Alas, as wonderful as these fellas are at soccer, no small part of me wishes this wishful alternate reality could be true. Who wouldn’t buy a couple tickets to go see Woj do stand-up at the Fillmore? Who wouldn’t beam at the news article of Bremer’s forces capturing malicious drug cartels? Or enjoy a glass of Hungarian orange wine at a restaurant overlooking the Adriatic, with Manuel displaying the bottle in a structure whose bricks were laid by Gatti?

Ah, to dream.