Though Juventus' new stadium only has a capacity of 41,000 and seats almost 30,000 less than its unpopular predecessor with the atmosphere-killing running track, it is a vast improvement for the club still trying to rebuild from the calciopoli scandal. And to mark the opening of the new joint, they held a lavish opening ceremony that included fake zebra giraffes, the song from The Lion King and neon light people. Then, to top it all off, they played a friendly against an English third division team.
Seriously, they played Notts County and all jokes aside, it was a fitting nod to the two clubs' great history. From the Guardian:
For it was Notts County, in 1903, who answered the call of a Juventus member, an Englishman named John Savage, to send a set of the club's black and white striped shirts to replace the pink numbers worn by the players of the Italian club since their founding by a group of students six years earlier. Thus did Notts, who were then midway through a spell in the old First Division, save Juventus from a century of being confused with pink-shirted Palermo.
Themselves founded in 1862, Notts are the world's oldest football club who are currently professional and, when their chief executive, Jim Rodwell, contacted Juventus with a tentative invitation to visit Nottingham for a match to celebrate next year's 150th anniversary, the response was more than he could have imagined. Juventus's young president, Andrea Agnelli, immediately called Ray Trew, Notts' owner, to suggest that they might become the first visitors to the new ground, which is built on the site of the unloved Stadio delle Alpi in Turin's northern suburbs. Notts have a league match against Walsall on Saturday but could hardly turn down such a request.
About 200 Notts County traveling fans were in attendance to watch their side come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw just before full time.
Here's video of those zebra giraffes and highlights from the rest of the opening ceremony...
Just to give you an even better idea of what the place is like, we will close with an image that proves the new stadium is apparently such a spectacular sight that Fabio Capello didn't even realize he was using Dino Zoff's tie to wipe his hand.
Photos: Getty, AP