20 June 2021
Juventus pays homage to a great champion who passed away today: Luis Del Sol. He was 86 years old.
Born in Arcos de Jalon on 6 April 1935, Luis Del Sol played 294 matches for Juventus, scored 29 goals, and won an Italian Cup and a Scudetto. His eight years at Juventus - from 1962 to 1970 - were dominated by his personality.
THE FIRST SPANIARD
In 2014, Del Sol came to Turin and visited the Juventus Museum, where he enjoyed the affection of the club that put his name on one of the 50 stars scattered across the stadium. Luis was an epochal figure, the first Spaniard in Juventus’ history, and he arrived at the club on the back of the fame he acquired at home. His arrival in Turin was an important event, as befits a player who was firmly at the top of the Ballon d'Or rankings during those years. The pride in acquiring his services was further accentuated by having snatched him up from the most successful team in Europe, Real Madrid. As Hurrà Juventus wrote at the time, "Juventus signed him with his eyes closed, because on the passport that is valid in the world of football, he had an entry visa for any team, a Real visa".
There are nicknames that can translate the characteristics of a player, even more so if the baptism comes from a teammate. At Real Madrid, it was the great Alfredo di Stefano who dubbed Del Sol as "The Postman" to indicate how Luis constantly delivered the ball to his teammates. He was the type of midfielder who bound the game through a jerky gait. "Il postino in tuxedo" (The Postman in a tuxedo) was the title with which Hurrà magazine presented him to its readers, highlighting him as "the ideal midfielder that knows how to weave plots upon plots, covering an area of the field in continuity throughout the match with tirelessness and unsurpassed rhythm.”
PLANET DEL SOL
Luis' continuous movement represented such an anomaly in Italian football that it became an object of study. In a piece entitled "Planet Del Sol", Hurrà Juventus investigated "the ‘Martian’ resistance compared to that of the Spanish marathon runner" through the scientific contribution of Juventus doctor, Doctor Mauro Sgarbi, and Professor Vittorio Wyss, Director of the Center of Medicine of the Sport in Turin. The article concluded that "the result was simple and astounding: Del Sol was not a phenomenon, but only a man who always finds new forces thanks to a will pushed to paroxysm". A lot of science goes together with the personal testimony of Luis, who confessed to readers how the intensity of the match lead him to what we commonly define today as a “competitive trance”: “I am another man on the pitch. That is, I have different thoughts than usual, and they are thoughts where I do not remember everything. Doesn't it sometimes happen to you: when you dream you experience it all with precise details, and then you wake up and not remember anything?”
Given the way things were operated in the 1960s, Del Sol represented a technical specialisation component at Juventus. The interest in his affairs never ceased in a country, that at a certain point, closed its borders to the importation of foreign footballers. Many things were spoken about Luis: you discover bits of his private life, his family, the villa where he lived on the Turin hills – which was inherited from John Charles – and his passion for cinema. He considered the Italian lifestyle far superior to the Spanish one.
After Turin there was Rome, where he spent two years playing for the Giallorossi, before then wrapping up his career at Betis, the club where he started his career at.
LUIS AS A BIANCONERO
“I was a player who didn't give much importance to scoring goals, but instead, I focused on making the pass to my teammates. It was more important to cover this task within a team". There is one match, above all, that stands out for his contribution: that of December 22, 1963. It was an important challenge against the reigning Italian champions Inter, and for Del Sol, it was made more interesting due to the direct confrontation with compatriot Luis Suarez. The Lady triumphed 4-1 with a brace from Luis, further proving his impact in the Black and White shirt.
There are many memories related to Del Sol: he will be a champion we will never forget.