On Wednesday, Francisco Calvo and Darwin Quintero will take the pitch against Juventus in the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. He and his fellow All-Stars will go up against the likes of Sami Khedira, Emre Can and Giorgio Chiellini. These are just the latest on the storied list of players to don the black and white of Juve who have made it the most successful club in the history of Italian soccer.
For 120 years, Juventus has been at the pinnacle of soccer in Italy and among the greatest clubs in the world. With a record 34 Serie A titles, 13 Coppa Italias, seven Supercoppas along with a pair of UEFA Champions Leagues, it might be easier to ask what it hasn’t won. It has claimed the last seven Serie A titles and has gotten a domestic double with Coppa Italias the last four years.
The club has produced legendary players and global superstars throughout its history. Modern-day Italy legends like Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Allesandro Del Piero were leaders at the club level as well as the international stage, helping Italy to its fourth World Cup title in 2006.
Though it prides itself in developing the best domestic players, Juve attracts many international stars to its ranks. Bringing in the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Zinedine Zidane, Michael Platini, Pavel Nedved, Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Julio Cesar has grown the club’s popularity around the globe.
A few weeks ago, the club signed global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and took over the world news cycle. Juve’s website crashed and its online shop was selling a jersey every second after the announcement as fans clamored to get his name on a new shirt. Fresh off a Champions League-winning season with Real Madrid and a World Cup run for Portugal, Ronaldo would be a major signing for any club. His move to Juventus gives the club hopes of reclaiming European glory after falling in the final two of the last four years. His blistering speed down the wings, superhuman vertical range and a shot with laser precision has Juventus fans dreaming of filling up their already impressive trophy cabinet with more silverware.
MLS has attracted several Juve players to its ranks over the years. Currently, Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco is enjoying a very successful career since joining the league in 2015 after coming up through Juve’s academy and playing 132 games for the senior team. Others like Pirlo, Marco Di Vaio and Antonio Nocerino have also spent time in the league. Higuain has a personal connection to MLS, with his brother Federico playing the last seven seasons for Columbus.
Despite all its talent and success, the odds are actually against Juventus when it meets the best of MLS. The All-Stars have won nine of their 15 matches against international opponents, which include Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur and Guadalajara. However, the visiting team has won the last two, with Arsenal sealing a late 2-1 result in San Jose and Real Madrid pulling off a penalty shootout win in Chicago.
Calvo, Quintero and the rest of the All-Stars may have their hands (feet?) full with this Juventus squad, even without Ronaldo. Both teams are poised to put on an incredible show in Atlanta on Wednesday, and no matter the score, it will be one to remember for fans and players alike.