A strike from The Witch

Juan Sebastián Verón SCROLL TO READ STORIA N.90 / 110

The 2005 Supercoppa Italiana was a tense and fraught affair, with Juventus and Inter still tied at 0-0 after 90 minutes. However, in the first half of extra time and with the Nerazzurri struggling, a fierce and unstoppable strike ultimately helped change the game’s outcome. Juan Sebastián Verón was the man to step up on the day, with his right-footed finish flying straight into the bottom corner and ensuring that his team secured the win.

Moments like these paid homage to Verón’s long-standing Spanish nickname – ‘Brujita’ – which translates to The Witch. This was passed on from his father Juan Ramón, who like his son, was also a tough tackling and authoritative midfielder. When in possession, Verón could enchant players with his skill, with the ball seemingly attached to his feet by a piece of string. He could thread passes through the eye of a needle, often setting up strikers with his precise vision. This quality on the ball was also matched by his scoring prowess, as he could often find the back of the net from the most impossible angles. During his time at Lazio, he even managed to score an ‘Olympic’ goal straight from a corner. At Inter he notably demonstrated his shooting ability from long-range, as his powerful efforts would often surprise unassuming goalkeepers. Importantly

I would know from my first touch whether or not the ball is going to be my friend on the day. If it is, then I can do anything, attempting all kinds of play.

Never would he shy away from tough tackles or aggressive opponents and on the pitch he was relentless in seeking to inspire his team. It was for precisely these reasons that then coach Roberto Mancini made him his midfield focal point during his time at the club, with the San Siro crowd captivated by his touches of class. He would only remain in Milan for two years, before then returning to Estudiantes – the club of his family and one which has strong links to his heart. However, this was just enough time to secure silverware with the Nerazzurri, putting an end to their long trophy drought in the league and also inspiring continued success in the future. It is almost as if the Witch was needed to help break the spell.

 

Juan Sebastián Verón

Juan Sebastián Verón (La Plata, 9th March 1975) joined Inter from Chelsea on loan back in 2004. He made 74 appearances and scored four goals during his two seasons with the club, also securing one Scudetto, two Coppa Italia trophies and one Supercoppa Italiana. During his career he also played for Estudiantes, Boca Juniors, Sampdoria, Parma, Lazio and Manchester United. He made 75 appearances for the Argentina National Team, scoring 10 goals and taking part in the 1998, 2002 and 2010 World Cups.