The Juventus Spirit Has Returned & So Has Felipe Melo The Halloween Monster

Posted on 02/11/2010


Carlo Garganese believes he saw the return of a united Juventus at San Siro on Saturday night. But one man above all else stood out…

Don’t go trick-or-treating around any old ladies houses this Halloween dressed as a devil because you will return home empty-handed.

And certainly don’t go trick-or-treating at Felipe Melo’s door unless you want to get a beating. In the build-up to the big game on Saturday night yours truly forecasted that, while the Rossoneri were favourites, the outcome would be decided by who won the midfield. One scary character in particular – Melo the Monster – ensured that it was Juventus who celebrated a happy Halloween.

Alongside Alberto Aquilani, with whom he is constructing a blossoming partnership, the Brazilian was indomitable. He won every physical battle and fifty-fifty ball, executed crunching tackles, drove through the heart of the Milan midfield time and again, and was the emblem of Juventus’ triumph.

After a disastrous first season in Turin following his big-money move from Fiorentina, Felipe Melo has completely turned around his form under coach Luigi Del Neri. He is now back to his very best and performing to the same levels that made him the best midfielder in Serie A in 2008/09.

Melo The Monster

If Melo maintains this over the course of the season, Aquilani stays fit, and the centre back duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci continue to grow, Juventus can boast a strong spine that will at least make them hard to beat.

But perhaps even more encouraging for away fans on Saturday night was the return of the Juventus spirit. The Bianconeri were ravaged by injury and selection problems going into the game. Star man Milos Krasic was suspended, all the pace, power and penetration in attack was lost with Vincenzo Iaquinta injured and Amauri only fit enough for a few minutes at the end.

Chiellini limped out of the clash minutes before kick-off with a muscular complaint. And if things couldn’t get any worse, Jorge Martinez – who had started very well – and Paolo De Ceglie had to be substituted after suffering serious injuries. With so few options on the bench, Simone Pepe was even forced to play as an emergency left back.

Despite all these handicaps, Juventus demonstrated incredible character and team spirit – a willingness from every player to sacrifice themselves and rise above their misfortunes.

“Everyone was a lion tonight. We were 11 lions on the pitch,” Melo roared after the game.

“No one believed in Juventus after last season. But we showed we are a great team. It’s a win of strength and character.”

“I saw a team that fought for every ball. This is the spirit to go on throughout the season,” Del Neri added.

“The team know how to make sacrifices and we showed a great attitude. We have to continue like this. We showed the Juventus spirit.”

It is this Juventus spirit that has made the club Italy’s most successful in history. In the past – even during the many glory years – there have occasionally been more talented teams than the Bianconeri. Or at least, more technically gifted. But the mental, psychological and tactical superiority of the Old Lady ensured that she emerged victorious.

Del Piero Broke Boniperti’s Record

This season, the Turin giants contain one of the most technically limited outfits they have ever possessed. But if they can demonstrate the Juventus spirit we witnessed at San Siro, week after week, then there is certainly the chance of Del Neri’s men punching above their weight this season.

Now, where does Luca Antonini live? I heard he gives out a lot of treats at Halloween.