Juve-Napoli, Altafini: “I’m grateful? No, but…”

José talks about his move from Napoli to Juve: “I hadn’t played in the European Cup for seven years, I wanted a big team”

Salvatore Malfitano

Is there a memory that particularly links you to this challenge, which you experienced with both shirts between the Sixties and Seventies?

“Frankly, no. Being a footballer is a profession in all respects and that’s how it works, there’s little that can be done. From this point of view I think I have always been very professional, both at Napoli and then at Juventus and, to be honest, also in the rest of my career.”

What was it like leaving Naples for Juventus?

“It was the result of normal reasoning, in my opinion. It had been seven years since I played in the European Cup, which I had previously won with Milan, and this was the criterion I followed when choosing to change team: I wanted to try to lift the trophy one more time. Of the five clubs that looked for me in 1972, the Bianconeri were the only one that could give me this opportunity and therefore the decision was all too easy.”

This move earned her the nickname “core ‘ngrato”. How did you experience it?

“The point is that I was essentially free after the end of the contract. Napoli didn’t sell me, nor did they try to keep me. That the fans booed me was logical and also understandable, perhaps even very right. Then I have never been the type of player who doesn’t celebrate if he scores against a former team: I have always considered it a lack of respect towards his own club and the fans who represent themselves at that moment. However, scoring a goal for one or the other has never caused me any particular sensations. This is the duty of a player, for better or for worse, and so I did too both in blue and black and white.”