Gonzalo Higuain on the phone during Juventus-Milan and post-Covid football

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The most significant moment of the second half of Juventus-Milan he showed up at 65 ‘, when the television direction detached from one of the many extinguished phases of the game to frame Gonzalo Higuain (not called up) sitting in the stands of the Allianz Stadium, properly spaced from his teammates. Bored look, expression of who would have preferred to be elsewhere, took the phone from his pocket with the naturalness that we all have when we try to distract ourselves from something we don’t like or don’t care about. Powerful image, because it is perfectly complementary to what was being seen on the pitch in those moments. The summary of the first post-Covid football: slow, muffled, anesthetized.

Not that the expectation was different. The same example of the Bundesliga, observed from the whole world a few weeks ago, had given us a preview of how we would find football in the second half. A faded imitation of what we were used to. The only possible version right now.

In Italy we started in even worse conditions: after a stop (unprecedented) lasting three months, a political back and forth on the possibility or not of resuming that dragged on until the last few hours, training resumed at full speed only by a couple of weeks. Conditions far from ideal for giving performances rich in technical and athletic content. Let’s add the context of an empty stage, inevitable but alienating, and here comes the final result. A surrogate of Italy’s most loved sport. It is what football has decided to be, in order to survive. A bad copy of himself to secure the future.

It will pass, in any case. The athletic condition will improve and the strength of habit will also change the perception from the outside. The fans, when it is possible to reopen the stadiums, will complete the puzzle. It will take time, as for every phase of recovery. But football will also become what we knew again. In the meantime, we will still find ourselves taking a few distracted glances over the phone, like Gonzalo Higuain.



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