31 August 2021
Born in San Giuliano Terme on 12 August 1944, Francesco Morini was much more than Juventus’ long-term centre-back.
Morini was a player that provided assurances, an extraordinarily reliable operator who was always present and came into his own when matches became more like battles. He even earned himself the nickname of Morgan (after the film Morgan, the Pirate), in recognition of his ability to plunder the ball from the opposing strikers.
Morini was in his element when going toe to toe with the top centre-forwards of the era, most notably Roberto Boninsegna and Luigi Riva. He would become their shadow, depriving them of time and space, man-marking them from the first minute to the last.
Any words chosen to describe the decade Morini spent at Juventus would struggle to do him justice. Juve were a youthful side when the 25-year-old Morini joined from Sampdoria in 1969, with the defender adding both energy and experience, having made his Serie A debut back in the 1963/64 season. Success soon followed, as Morini won five Scudetto titles, one Coppa Italia and one UEFA Cup, making a total of 372 appearances without scoring a single goal. The man himself would often laugh about this in later life – his job was to keep them out, not score them.
Morini’s contribution at Juventus didn’t end when he hung up his boots, as he went on to serve as the club’s sporting director and later team manager, playing a key role in the extraordinarily successful period between 1981 and 1994.
Aside from his on-field success, Francesco Morini was also a wonderfully likeable character. Anyone who had the pleasure of spending time with him will remember how his pride at having achieved so much at Juventus shone through whenever he told stories about his career.
We’ve lost one of our own.
Thanks for everything, Francesco.