He was an outstanding track and field athlete and Boniperti’s strike partner at Juventus. But Angelo Caroli only became really happy as a journalist.
There are plenty of memorable quotes from the legendary Giampiero Boniperti. The former Juventus striker and longtime president of the Bianconeri regularly brought one of these when his team had received bad press. Boniperti then shrugged off the reporters, saying: “If you haven’t kicked at least one corner in Serie A, you can’t really write about football.”
Boniperti’s exaggerated remark aimed to illustrate the inexperience of journalists at the very highest level. Boniperti undoubtedly had a point with his exaggeration, although there was one journalist who must not have felt addressed: Boniperti’s former teammate Angelo Caroli. He even won the Scudetto with Juventus, ended his career at the age of 26 and became one of the most recognized sports journalists in Italy.
Juventus: Angelo Caroli scored on his debut
Caroli began this unusual career as a long jumper. He set the Italian junior record in this discipline before deciding at 16 to pursue his dream of playing football.
Born in L’Aquila in 1937, Carioli first impressed at the club in his hometown as a defender. When there were injury problems up front, Caroli helped out in attack and scored 12 goals in eight games. A strong proof of work that earned him a move to Juventus.
So Caroli trained with stars like Boniperti, but at the same time did not neglect his schooling and attended the Liceo Classico ‘Massimo ‘D’Azeglio’. In 1956 he made his debut in Italy’s top division under then Juve coach Sandro Puppo, scoring the winning goal in Bologna. A historic goal, as it ended a dry spell of two years without an away win.
The day after his debut goal, Caroli went back to school. A test in Greek was on the timetable. “I don’t remember how the exam went, but I don’t think it was that great: I wasn’t good at Greek, I liked Latin much better,” he later recalled Abruzzo Web.
Angelo Caroli won the Scudetto with Juventus
Caroli remained at Juventus for two more uneventful years before a string of loan deals to Catania, Lucca and Pordenone, where he met his wife Marilù and where coach Varglien II trained him from striker to full-back. A stroke of luck.
Juventus brought him back in the 1960/61 season. The club, managed by Umberto Agnelli, had built a top squad with stars like John Charles and Omar Sivori. Caroli briefly fought for a regular place, provided the decisive assist in the derby against Torino and also appeared in the European Cup. In the end, Juventus won the Scudetto, Caroli was Italian champion.
Despite the successes, he is not entirely happy as a footballer. At 26, he draws a line under his career. He no longer wanted to endure certain “impositions”, but without being really specific: “I had always tried to adopt a very distanced attitude towards this atypical job. (…) Certain things no longer suited me, I have she didn’t see fit.”
He dropped out of law school and actually aimed to become a physical education teacher. However, he also had a talent as a writer and becoming a journalist was an obvious step. Caroli started for tuttosport to write later for Stampa Sera. He notably provided coverage for Juventus and traveled to three World Cups to write about the Squadra Azzurra.
Caroli has written 25 books and composed seven poems over the years. “I’ve always loved writing, even if I wasn’t a big reader. I never really liked my essays at school, but I got an A,” says Caroli. “Writing is exhausting, but it is also an outlet. There is great satisfaction when you complete something. Writing brings mature results, it has a deeper meaning than winning a Scudetto or a 100 meter race or a long jump competition.”
Angelo Caroli passed away on November 17, 2020 in his adopted home of Turin, leaving a deep void in the world of journalism and Italian culture.