A familiar face in the first-team squad, a regular fixture in Italy’s U19 setup and a key figure in the success of Juventus’ all-conquering Primavera, this year has certainly been one to remember for goalkeeper Emil Audero. All that before even considering the possibility of a clean sweep of Italy’s domestic trophies.
As a potentially treble-winning season draws to a close, there is still plenty of unfinished business for Audero and co. beginning most importantly with Thursday’s Coppa Italia final first-leg meeting with Inter at Juventus Stadium.
While the Bianconeri have emerged victorious in one final already this term, following last week’s 3-2 triumph over Palermo in the Viareggio Cup, Audero believes that the clash with the Nerazzurri in two days’ time stands alone as a “game like no other.”
Discussing his team’s preparations for the showpiece event before the SportItalia cameras, the Indonesian-born keeper began, “Thursday’s tie is unique. Finals are always a law unto themselves. We have to be at our very best for 180 minutes and remain focused on the job at hand regardless of what happens in the first leg at Juventus Stadium.
“We are all relishing the prospect of lifting a trophy that we haven’t won for a while.”
“Coach (Fabio) Grosso as ever has been hammering home what he wants to see from us on Thursday night as well as sharing his great experience of big matches. He has an infectious enthusiasm.”
For Emil, only if the Bianconeri succeed in uniting all of the above factors, concentration, determination and passion can they prevail over a menacing and dangerous Inter outfit over two legs.
He continued, “Inter have a terrific squad with real quality throughout. Take Rey Manaj for example, a player who has made a handful of first-team appearances this term. That kind of big-game experience could be crucial for them.”
The Inter forward is not the only youngster among Thursday’s line-ups to have rubbed shoulders with the stars of their respective clubs though, and Audero too will look to draw from his own extensive experience with the senior squad come kick-off at Juventus Stadium.
The youngster concluded, “I’ve learned so much and have relished being in the first-team picture. Given the quality of our backline and the wonderful opportunity of working with Gianluigi Buffon on a daily basis, I could not have asked for a better footballing education.
“Training with Gigi for the first time was an unforgettable feeling for me. In cases like that, all you can do is soak it up, cherish the moment and focus on learning as much as you can.”