Emil Audero is living the dream of millions of young Bianconeri supporters across the globe.
A Juventus fan from his early childhood, the Primavera goalkeeper, who has Indonesian heritage through his father, is enjoying a great start to the 2014/15 campaign between the sticks for Fabio Grosso’s squad.
Now in his seventh year at the club, the 17-year-old could somewhat be described as a veteran regardless of his young years. The last few months have seen Audero flit between first team and youth sector duties and he has been loving every minute of it.
He was with the side that took part in this summer’s Asia-Pacific tour and began this exclusive interview with Juventus.com by casting his mind back to one of the most incredible moments of his life to date.
“There was a mixture of emotions on tour,” he said. “Revisiting the country of my birth, where I also lived for a bit, and also working alongside the first team. I returned happy to have taken part in an amazing experience. Being there with Juventus was a remarkable feeling. I would never have expected it.”
Like the first team, Audero’s Primavera outfit are looking to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid and with both sides travelling to Greece later today, Wednesday evening’s crucial clash is firmly in the thoughts of the young shotstopper.
“The game against Olympiacos will be crucial: we’re currently on the same points, and we’re going into two consecutive matches with them. We need to get a few victories under our belts, otherwise we risk finding ourselves in an unthinkable situation where everything’s already been decided. We’ll be sure to play well and give our all.”
He continued: “We got off to a great start against Malmo. We lost the encounter with Atletico but I felt we somewhat let it slip through our hands. The meeting was very similar to the first team’s: it looked like it had 0-0 written all over it, but we conceded a very soft goal. We’ll get our own back in the return match-up.”
More of Audero’s interview can be read below:
How did it feel to make your debut in a continental competition last year?
“The Youth League was amazing last year: it was a completely new experience for everyone. One of the highlights was being in and around the first term, taking the same flight as them and, on an international level, being able to face teams from all over Europe that have a different culture to your own. All of this is very important in helping you understand the level you’re at and if you have to work harder… The experience definitely helped me to grow.”
Let’s rewind a bit: you had the opportunity to share another trip alongside the first team during the summer… Which memory in particular sticks out for you from the Asia-Pacific tour?
“Definitely being surrounded by these amazing players that you either see from a distance at Vinovo or only on TV: they suddenly become your team-mates in the dressing room. Only then do you realise that they too are the same as us, completely normal people. And they immediately made me feel part of the group.”
Returning to Indonesia must have been particularly special for you. What’s the support like for Juventus and football in general there?
“My dad lives there and he had already explained to me that there are plenty of supporters. ‘They already know who you are here’, he informed me, but whilst I hadn’t yet experienced it at first-hand, I didn’t want to believe it. Once we arrived, we received an incredible welcome: hundreds even thousands of people had come to greet us in perfect Italian, I didn’t think they would be that passionate. Professional football is still in its early stages of development in the country, but there are a great deal of fans who follow it: be it Serie A or the English and Spanish leagues. Technology in Indonesia is state of the art: so many of them have the latest smartphone and are up-to-date with pretty much everything.”
Give us an insight of your first foray into football. You used to play up front rather than in goal, right?
“Yes, I was a winger! I became a goalkeeper purely by chance, as often happens when your local side is in need of one [Cumiana, close to Turin]. I really liked the position and it has stuck with me ever since. As a boyhood Bianconero, Buffon was the first person I looked up to and watching him during the 2006 World Cup spurred me on even more. I began playing with Juve when I started secondary school and I’m now in my seventh year at the club. Starting off in the youth sector and making your way up to the Primavera side already feels like a long journey in itself, even if I never thought I would get this far. I pushed myself to take each year as it comes, looking to get the call to go through at the end of the year – especially when I was really young, as the culling process is even greater. Once I joined the Giovanissmi Nazionali, and received my first call-up to the national side, I begun to understand that if I worked my socks off, I could reach the top.”
Tell us a bit more about the Emil Audero away from Vinovo…
“In order to get as far as the Primavera, myself and my family have made and are still continuing to make sacrifices. I study here at J-College and still live at home: my parents take me to training because I don’t have a car yet. Before heading to Vinovo, I go to school and then once I arrive home, I’m really tired so I chill out. After our games on Saturday, I normally relax on a Sunday.”
What has been your biggest highlight at Juventus thus far?
“Definitely the first time I trained with the first team. It’s a very vivid and great memory, because it was the first moment I had been with them in the flesh after seeing them from afar in the stadium and on TV. Let’s say it was a great Christmas present, almost two years ago now… and when I’m in and around them, I’m at my most excited and focused.”
What does the future hold?
“We’ve improved as a team compared to last season, but can still improve both as a collective and individually. I hope to have a successful campaign, and then the club and my family will come to a decision. Maybe I could go out on loan to one of the lower divisions and continue my development there.”
What do you learn from Buffon, Rubinho and Storari?
“It’s great training with them, you learn and understand a lot of things you can’t pick up from the TV: from how they train to their sheer technique. When it’s with your team-mate from the Primavera, sometimes you just pass over it, whereas if you see the first team shotstoppers carry it out, for example their footwork, ways of attacking the ball and how to dive when making a save, you pay a little more attention to it. Buffon has always been my idol, ever since I put my gloves on for the first time: maybe behind all the things that come naturally to me, there’s also a bit of copying going on!”