A tale of two Quinquenni

      Winning five Scudetto titles on the bounce is simply amazing. But it’s not the first time Juve have managed it. Indeed, they pulled off the same feat eighty years ago, way back in the 1930s.

      There was no TV, no internet. There was barely any radio – though the young Nicolò Carosio’s voice provided a worthy soundtrack for those people that did have one. We’ve all heard broken tales of that great Juve side, stories told with an air of legend about them, the storytellers sure in the conviction that nothing of the like would happen again. And yet…

      Let’s journey back to those days. Let’s jump aboard our time machine and compare the heroics of Buffon and Co. with those of the first five-year heroes. And once we’re done, we’ll zip back to the present, with No.6 already on our minds.

      You may not know a lot about the Juve of the 1930s, but as you’ll see there are more than a few similarities between the protagonists and the principles of both sides, despite their times falling nearly a century apart.

      (Turin celebrates Juve's arrival in 1935 outside the city's Porta Nuova station) 

      Five in a row for the first time

      A perfect mix of experienced pros and young players. The Juventus 1935 vintage was the culmination of the sides that had dominated the league in previous years, though there weren’t all that many players who managed to stick out the gruelling Serie A season for the full five years. Yet the five Scudetto titles were just recognition for a truly fantastic group. 

      Our first Quinquennio winning side on the bus

      The goalkeeper, Gianpiero Combi, had hung up his gloves having won the World Cup with Italy in 1934, so for the fifth Scudetto it was Cesare Valinasso who manned the sticks for all 30 games, having made several appearances in previous seasons.

      Legendary full-backs Umberto Caligaris and Virginio Rosetta were key men in the five-Scudetto achievement, with the youngster Alfredo Foni also playing his part. Indeed, Foni played more games than the two greats, alternating between right a

      Combi, Rosetta and Caligaris

      It was in midfield that Juventus’ continuity was most evident: defensive midfield brothers Mario and Giovanni Varglien were ever-presents throughout the winning streak, while central midfielder Luis Monti and left-sided midfielder Luigi Bertolini arrived in the second year, meaning they only won four straight titles. Young midfielder Teobaldo Depetrini played a key role in the 1933/34 season, while his contribution in the fifth season – especially when deputising for Giovanni Varglien – was ever more important.

      The 1931-32 Scudetto, celebrated with president Edoardo Agnelli at Villar Perosa

      Another young player with a big future ahead of him was Pietro Serantoni, who played half of the games to win his first Scudetto title. Up front, the inimitable attacking midfield pair of Renato Cesarini and Giovanni Ferrari were a constant source of danger throughout the successful spell. And although Raimundo Orsi returned to South America for family reasons before the fifth Scudetto was won, he is remembered for having made a significant contribution towards its capture.

      Cesarini, Sernagiotto, Orsi, Ferrari, Monti and Maglio

      Felice Borel II won four of the five Scudettos – he was only 21 when Juve won the historic fifth, meaning he was virtually still in short trousers when the winning streak began! Finally, centre-forward Guglielmo Gabetto made six appearances, playing a modest role in the five-year streak. He would later join Torino, where he would add more titles to his personal honours collection…

      Current day heroes: from Buffon to Marchisio

      Mr Clean Sheet Gigi Buffon was the driving force behind a group of seemingly indestructible Bianconeri heroes. Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli were there from the very beginning, as was Stephan Lichtsteiner.

      Simone Padoin joined in January 2012, becoming a part of a winning side, while Martin Caceres was also brought in, providing the side with a fantastic alternative at full-back or in the centre.

      Claudio Marchisio has spent his whole life at Juventus and played a key role in each of the five years. There can be no doubt that he will perform similar feats for seasons to come.

      Kwadwo Asamoah, Rubinho and Paul Pogba were also part of the history-making side, but had to settle for four Scudetti in a row. 

      Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo also won four Scudetti with Juve. They were the cornerstones of the side for all of those four seasons, instrumental in overhauling AC Milan in the first year and fundamental in the 102-point season.

      Marco Storari slotted right in when Buffon was out and Simone Pepe, before his serious injury, was impressive on the wing. 

      Three-Scudetto men include Mirko Vucinic, Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco, while Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez won two each in unforgettable fashion. Emanuele Giaccherini also bagged a brace of Scudetti, sealing the second with that late stunner in Catania.

      In terms of the current squad, Alvaro Morata, Patrice Evra, Roberto Pereyra and Stefano Sturaro have all tasted Scudetto glory twice.

      Alessandro Del Piero helped fired us to the first of the five Scudetti, and won an incredible eight over the course of his Juventus career. The Bianconeri legend scored some vital goals in the 2011/12 season, including that fantastic free-kick against Lazio.

      The fifth Scudetto was won thanks to this season’s wonderful new recruits: Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Sami Khedira, Hernanes, Alex Sandro, Mario Mandzukic, Simone Zaza, Daniele Rugani, Mario Lemina, Norberto Neto, Emil Audero.

      The magnificent eight

      There are eight of them in the Famous Five. Eight players to have won five straight league titles – a big number and a sure sign of continuity in the continuous renewal that the team has achieved since 2011.

      This fifth consecutive title seems to belong above all to Gigi Buffon. As captain he was able to galvanise his team-mates when the going was toughest, and once they had turned the corner he lowered the portcullis and set a brilliant clean-sheet record. Two feats which reflect the greatness expected of the greatest goalkeeper.

      From the first set of five the natural comparison with the immense Gigi is the legendary Gian Piero Combi, who left the club as a World Cup winner in 1934 and was not there for the fifth Scudetto. Nonetheless, his is a memorable record aside from the numbers: his 367 matches did actually comprise five titles because he had already won the league in 1926, in the company of his inseparable friends Virginio Rosetta and Umberto Caligaris.

      Between the posts in the 1934/35 season was Cesare Valinasso. Born in Turin in 1909, he joined the club in 1933 as Combi’s reserve and found himself in the limelight sooner than expected. After playing five matches in the march to the 1934 title, he played all thirty in the season of the fifth consecutive one. 

      Rosetta-Caligaris-Monti then, Bonucci, Barzagli and Chiellini now. An impossible comparison, but a tantalising one.

      On the left Giorgio Chiellini, a modern and less romantic version of Umberto Caligaris, whose rugged strength and exceptional speed would have made him ideal for the modern game.

      “Caliga” played a smaller part in the last title, often making way for Alfredo Foni, a youngster who combined a remarkable work-rate with tactical wisdom beyond his years. Of the squad’s three full-backs, Foni actually played the most, totalling 27 appearances. A promising start then blossomed into a great career: he won a World Cup under Vittorio Pozzo and went on to become a successful coach. 

      Rosetta and Caligaris with their children at the seaside

      To compare Andrea Barzagli to Virginio ‘Viri’ Rosetta is to pay homage to a legend of our time. Barzagli lives, of course, in a very different world, but in addition to his renown as a defender he is, like Rosetta, a Juventus man through and through.

      Virginio Rosetta was one of the first professionals in the Italian game, a model of technique and intelligence. He won his first title with Pro Vercelli at the age of 19, and went on to win another six in a Juventus shirt, despite a series of niggling injuries.  

      Leonardo Bonucci has all the class required for the job of stopping the opponents and starting play from defence. A deep-lying playmaker, which was the role (given the inevitable differences of the time) played in the 1930s by Luis Monti. Known as the strolling half-back, Monti was a true defensive organiser, able to break up play and start attacking moves. Already well into his career when he came to the club, he was written off in some quarters as over the hill. A big mistake – he played like the youngest, always up for a scrap, giving a whack and taking one with the best of them. And he had several more seasons in him, all good ones.  

      For all five titles Martin Caceres has been what is known in basketball as the sixth man – the indispensable added value in any team, able to play to equally good effect in central defence and on the wing. 

      In the 1930s there were no such players. But Pietro Ferrero, born in Turin 1905, for four years the automatic reserve for Rosetta and Caligaris, 93 appearances between 1931 and 1934, had at least one thing in common with Caceres: he could score a goal or two. 

      Stephan Lichtsteiner and the Varglien brothers: with all due allowances, Stephan has something of each of the Fiume-born champions. He is as fast as Varglien major, and as dangerous going forward as Varglien minor.

      Born in 1905, Mario Varglien was a no-nonsense scrapper, a rugged marker able to turn defence into attack. His brother Giovanni Varglien, born six years later, was more technically gifted: able to cover any midfield role, he liked to maraud upfield and was an aerial threat when he did so.


      Hard work, dedication and versatility – that’s how Simone Padoin became part of the legend. Ready whenever needed, his adaptability enables him to cover any space and play any role in defence and midfield. 

      In the 1930s there was Luigi Bertolini: a buccaneering half-back with an unmistakable headband, he ran his heart out and gave everything for the team. 

      It’s hard to say anything new about Claudio Marchisio, but history comes to our aid with significant parallels with past champions who wore only one shirt: the bianconera.

      The great Carlo Bigatto, always shown in photos of the time wearing a black-and-white cap, played for Juventus from 1913 to 1931, winning the title in 1926 and 1931, the first of the famous five.

      Giovanni Ferrari

      But this season’s Marchisio is also the man in the middle who dictates play. And if we go to the great team of the ‘30s we find that the beating heart of that Famous Five was a man from Alessandria with little hair but fire in abundance: Giovanni Ferrari. His languid pace was belied by speed of thought, and for the men up front it was chances galore. He played a crucial role in all five titles, especially the last, when only Felice Placido Borel scored more goals. 

      There are no attackers in this year’s list of five-title winners. Which is a pity, because there is one inviting parallel, so we shall draw it.

      Paulo Dybala is the star striker in the present team. He scores goals of stunning quality and his skill on the ball runs defenders ragged. Can anyone like him be found in the 1930s? 

      Orsi in action

      Of course, and it’s Raimundo ‘Mumo’ Orsi. Known as the Star of Amsterdam, he was the most formidable left-winger ever seen at the time. With outstanding ball control and an ability to skip past his man and elude attempts to foul him, ‘Mumo’ enchanted his fans and bewitched defenders, scoring impossible goals. Just like “La Joya”. 

      Two cutting edge stadia

      Juventus Stadium is home to the second five-year streak. Five years of dominance which began on 8 September 2011, the day the stadium was opened. The stadium has been open for five years and Juventus have won five league titles in a row. Owned by the club, it’s the sixth biggest in Italy in terms of capacity (41,475), the first football facility in the country which doesn’t feature architectural barriers and the world’s first eco-friendly football stadium.

      Juventus Stadium won the Stadium Innovation Trophy at the 2012 Global Sports Forum. The facility’s opening ceremony, held on 8 September 2011, won the best commemorative event in Italy at the Best Event Awards. 

      J-Museum, housed on the east side of the stadium, is the Bianconeri’s first football museum and was opened on 16 May 2012. In 2014, the Bianconeri museum was listed among Italy’s top 50 in terms of visitor numbers. 

      In the area surrounding the stadium’s second tier, situated at approximately 18 metres above the playing surface, is the Walk of Fame. The area celebrates the most decorated players in Juventus history. The floor is divided into 50 sections each featuring a gold star bearing the name of player who made their mark at the club.

      Back in the 1930s, the Stadio Comunale was also a cutting-edge facility that was the envy of the rest of the country – the first modern stadium in Italy. In the early 1930s, Turin had two good football stadia (Corso Marsiglia and the Filadelfia, owned by Torino) but neither of them had a running track. The idea of a third, large stadium in the city was born. Work began in early September 1932 and the site was opened on 14 May 1933 in time for the start of the university games.

      Reports from that period describe how “the stadium leaves an excellent first impression as you approach, thanks to its enviable position, located at the end of Piazza d’Armi, in the midst of large tree-lined roads. [...] There are 27 entrances to the stadium. The main entrance, which features a raised passage, opens between two very tall granite pillars and a large stairway in a combination of polished and bush-hammered granite. This leads to a reception room paved in Cipollino marble.

      “The reception room [...] serves as a hallway to the grandstand, which can be accessed from two gates with Alpine green marble frames. [...] At the front of the grandstand there is another three-pronged entrance, known as the Marathon gate, which is used by athletes coming from the tower of the same name. A further six entrances, like this one, lead from the outside to ground level. Two granite stairways line the Marathon entrance. A further 16 in granite – five metres wide – lead from the outside into a passageway which splits the spectators’ stands two thirds of the way up. There are two types of stands: one for sitting and one for standing, with the latter also allowing the crowd to sit when the attendance is not too high [...].

      “In line with the grandstand, albeit at ground level, there is a post and telegraph office, a press room with tables to write upon and telephone booths, a secretariat, a telephone switchboard and a treatment room featuring all modern amenities. The playing field is equipped for football matches (70x105m), running (a six-lane 400m track), long jump, pole vault, high jump, javelin, shot put, discus etc. [...]”

      Champions away from the pitch

      What were the men behind the five consecutive Scudetto wins of the 1930s like away from the field? According to an article of the time, they were “nice, laid-back guys”. Indeed, the majority were married with children. So what of the little free time they did have? Let’s take a look.

      Virginio ‘Viri’ Rosetta and Umberto Caligaris were great friends. They would spend hours playing each other at bridge, with the rest of the team crowding round to learn the game and cheer on one or the other.

      Gianpiero Combi was a businessman as well as a goalkeeper: he and his brother ran a liqueur factory which specialised in the production of Marsala all’uovo wine.

      Tapparone, Borel II and Carcano

      ‘Nane’ Vecchina, the centre-forward who helped fire Juve to the first three Scudetti, was in the liqueur, confectionary and fabric trade, specialising in silk. His team-mates would poke fun at him, remarking that he’d been “born with a silk spoon” in his mouth.

      Luis Monti was a man of few words and combined business with pleasure in his free time. He was a keen runner, something he did partly to keep himself in shape given that he was one of the older heads of the group.

      Brothers Mario and Giovanni Varglien had very similar tastes and were both accomplished table tennis players. Giovanni Ferrari was also handy with a racquet, but preferred regular tennis.

      Renato Cesarini always dressed immaculately and was a frequent patron of his tailor, spending a fortune on suits, while Raimundo ‘Mumo’ Orsi’s passion was for cars: when he arrived in Turin he had a driver to ferry him around, before slowly but surely surrendering to his desire to take the wheel himself.

      It's a different world today...

      The world has changed since then, of course, and you’d be hard pushed to find a youngster in the land who doesn’t count playing PlayStation among their favourite hobbies. We’re sure our current crop of title winners were – are – just the same.

      But there’s something even more modern linking the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Paul Pogba, Alvaro Morata, Claudio Marchisio and Juan Cuadrado: social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles are all the rage nowadays, and certainly represent the perfect way for players to cement their appeal with a loyal following of fans desperate to get that little bit closer to their heroes.

      That said, not everyone has the same approach to social media, and not everyone uses the same platform. Some keep the fans updated on a daily – even hourly – basis. Claudio Marchisio and Leonardo Bonucci are two of the most active players in the squad, so followers can expect to be kept constantly up to date on what they’re up to and where.

      Social media can also be used as a way of sharing positive messages and supporting charitable initiatives, with many Bianconeri players harnessing their power for good causes: as well as Marchisio and Bonucci, it’s a practice engaged in by the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and even the boss himself. That’s right, even Massimiliano Allegri has a Twitter account (his #Fiuuu hashtag after the match against Olympiacos two years ago has become a firm favourite with the fans).

      Alvaro Morata and Sami Khedira are two players with dizzying numbers of followers, with their home country fans from Spain and Germany bolstered by legions of new supporters in Italy: both have over six million followers on Facebook. 

      Welcome back Hermano! @juventus #dybalavoltou #elestadevuelta #BeTheDifference

      A photo posted by Paul Labile Pogba (@paulpogba) on

      Another with more followers than some countries have inhabitants is Paul Pogba, who’s just announced that he’s broken the four-million mark – just over two years after he launched his page. Fair play to him.

      And last but certainly not least, captain Gigi Buffon has well over four million followers himself and is a true winner when it comes to all things internet. The post he dedicated to former side Parma when they returned to the realms of professional football once again showed the measure of the man. 

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