Culture

The incredible footage of all Wales giant John Charles’ Serie A goals

19 Jun 2021 3 minutes Read
John Charles at Juve with Giampiero Boniperti and Omar Sívori.

There is a famous image of John Charles playing for Juventus.

The Welshman is suspended in mid-air like a superhero demonstrating their out of this world heading ability.

It is a glorious sight, a prescient reminder ahead of Wales’ clash with Italy in their final Euro 2020 group game, of the sporting prowess of the man who is arguably Wales’ greatest player.

A towering presence and built like someone in need of their own Marvel movie, he was supremely athletic, deceptively quick,  immense on the floor or in the air, an all round world class striker.

Charles was that and more. He was also a world class centre half.

John Charles takes flight.

An anomaly, a preternatural talent, a one-off, an otherworldly presence. Call him what you will. He was Welsh, fiercely patriotic and fittingly for a native of the land of song – a formidable singer, to boot.

In many ways it’s a shame the Swansea-born Welsh international, who was the driving force behind his national side’s passage to the 1958 World Cup quarter-final in Sweden, wasn’t able to showcase his skills in the modern age of football.

Leeds United

When he was transferred from Leeds United to Juventus in 1957, it was for a then British record £65,000 transfer fee.

The mind boggles at what he would be worth in the modern game. If current world record transfer holder Neymar is worth £198 million, it’s arguable Charles would be worth double that.

In this age of camera phones, social media and viral videos, we would be spoiled rotten with footage of Il Gigante Buono (The Gentle Giant) as the Italians named him, due to his imposing frame, sportsmanship and incredible record of never having been booked or sent off in his entire career.

Until recently footage of the striker in full flight was pretty thin on the ground, but a rarely seen video of Charles, who died aged 72 in 2004, has now emerged sensationally showing all of his Serie A goals in his time at Juventus.

Forming a prolific partnership with teammates Omar Sívori and Giampiero Boniperti in Juventus’s front-line, (the trio were nicknamed The Holy Trident) the video is a stunning reminder of what a supreme footballing talent he was and a visual representation of why he is still revered in Italy all these years later.

Sit back, relax and enjoy. Then start a good natured argument with your friends over who is the greatest Welsh player of all time – John Charles or Gareth Bale.

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