The traffic jam these days of the merchant Ever given on the Suez Canal is reminiscent of that Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald story. A rubber merchant passionate about opera who set out to build a theater in the Iquitos jungle so that the voice of his beloved Enrico Caruso could resonate among the trees. I needed money. And before that he wanted to transport a huge 320-ton steamboat up the mountain dragged by hundreds of indigenous people. The Odyssey, which filmmaker Werner Herzog titled Fitzcarraldo (1982), consisted of carrying the ship in one piece so that it could sail a tributary of the Amazon rich in rubber. The filming was an ordeal almost identical to that of the original story. Some Jivaro even lent themselves to assassinate the protagonist, Klaus Kinski, completely insane. Herzog, as ironically recounted in the documentary My Intimate Enemy (1999), rejected it for mere planning. The story of that wonderful nonsense was printed in the book Conquest of the useless, by Herzog himself (Blackie Books, 2010), chronicle of a shipwreck on the top of a mountain. A wonderful metaphor for any great aesthetic undertaking.
Andrea Agnelli’s Juventus, bored with their own sailing (9 scudetti consecutive), has spent several seasons trying to cross a huge mountain with the ship of his history in flight. Winning Serie A was not enough. Play like the Italian, either. Obsessed with beauty and with the figure of Guardiola, he tried to manufacture it the way juventine and summoned to the booth the last great myth that led his midfield. But Andrea Pirlo has embarked on a paradigm shift in which nothing fits and where characters such as midfielder Arthur (arrived from Barça in a financial exchange), clearly show the team’s mismatch: last week he gave a terrible pass in his area that cost Juve the game against Benevento (fifth from the tail) and the humiliation in a season already lost.
Juve have won nine scudetti in a row, watching the tenth fade shouldn’t be a drama either. The problem is the scent of decay. And the moment: February, ten days still from the end. Inter, if no disaster changes its course, will be the winner of Serie A this year (it takes 6 points and one game less to Milan). It could also be easily de-dramatized not to win the Champions League (it has not happened since 1995-96), but falling in the second round with Porto is an anomaly for the Turinese. The club has made many mistakes. They have spent a useless 200 million this season alone and they still do not have a pure striker, a conductor or a left back to give Alex Sandro a break.
The shipwreck represents him better than anyone else Cristiano Ronaldo. A 36-year-old player who costs Juventus a fortune and who has been erased from all the important matches. Against Porto it was the first time that he did not score in a Champions League tie and a mistake of his cost him the exit from the championship. Then he went to heal the wound the following weekend with three goals and an attack on the goalkeeper with a bottom like Cagliari. The covers in Turin already show the doubts and Mendes begins to move.
Juventus (36 league titles and two Champions League titles) has handed over the command of the expedition to a myth. And the emotionality and affection towards Pirlo have unleashed a principle of blindness that inevitably leads to the culmination of that conquest of the useless – which always has to do with a certain idea of beauty – in which Andrea Agnelli has been embarking for some years. . The fans and the club are now in front of a monument, Pirlo is not Maurizio Sarri, who they despised because he was wearing a tracksuit to the bench, smoked and cursed at press conferences (although he had 10 more points at this point).
The conflict is enormous and sums it up almost everything: a vision of history against the demand for results. The club fired the last two coaches tormented by an aesthetic idea of a new destination and the results, on the field and in the Excel sheets, are now an ordeal. As happened to Fitzcarraldo before reaching the Amazon basin to build his great opera, Agnelli these days consumes prestige and money in companies without much future. A ship, in short, stranded at the top of its latest feats.