That black Juve uniform

Madrid’s decision to wear black on its 120th anniversary (a marketing action for a somewhat forced celebration) has sparked debate. The event reminds me of the first time a team was seen playing in black at the Bernabéu, Juventus. It was also received with surprise and repudiation. That match would leave a wake.

It happened in the third qualifying round of the VII European Cup, 1961-62 season, which pitted Madrid against Juve, a star pairing. Madrid had won five, had lost in the sixth against Barça with two tremendous arbitrations and in this one they intended to resume their triumphal march. He had already eliminated Vasas from Budapest and Odense. Juve, meanwhile, had eliminated Panathinaikos and Partizan. Like so many other greats in Europe, this cup was his dream.

The first leg was resolved 0-1 in favor of Madrid, a goal by Di Stéfano, after a hectic eve. A crowd gathered in front of the Madrid hotel to protest against the Franco regime for the assaults by the Police on the University, considered inviolable. The demonstrators demanded to see Di Stéfano to deliver a statement rejecting the government and he diverted them to the vice president, Muñoz Lusarreta, who hid behind a column.

Despite the 0-1, the Bernabéu registered a large crowd, close to No tickets. As the teams left, there was a cry of surprise. Juve wore black from head to toe. A team dressed like this had never been seen in that stadium. That row in mourning made a sharp contrast with the white white of Madrid, resplendent under the lights of the stadium. In the lead was the referee, with black stockings and pants and a strange purple shirt.

At the time the referees invariably dressed in black. This match corresponded, as could not be less, to one of the greatest, the Frenchman Maurice Guigne, a Marseille gendarme who had already refereed Madrid in the European Cup and who had the World Cup final in Sweden, that Brazil , 5; Sweden, 2. Upon arrival he found that Juve had only brought that kit, which had been the main kit for a while and was abandoned after the collapse of Italian fascism and its black shirts. In Turin Madrid had dressed in blue, here Juve chose black.

It would have been enough to change the shorts and socks from white to black and keep his usual shirt, (that’s how he played many times later at the Bernabéu, without confusion) but he chose black for everything. And he refused to accept any Madrid kit, he demanded to play with his scudetto on his chest. Guigne had to go out in his street shirt over which he layered a mauve jersey that was part of his French referee street uniform. In fact, he carried a rooster as a shield.

The match was fierce, they hit hard and at half-time it was 0-1 with a goal from Sívori, a genius, then Ballon d’Or. black socks, he was confused with the Juve: “We saw him and we dribbled him,” he told me one day. When the teams left in the second half, there was discussion in the center of the field, with Di Stéfano and Guigne in the center of the huddle. Until he went to the locker room and came out with another pair of pants, brown, that someone found in the locker room of the old gym.

And so, mauve jersey, brown pants and black socks, made a chrome, in short, he refereed the second half. The sticks followed and the game ended without more goals. It was Madrid’s first home loss in seven European Cup years. And also and the last game of Maurice Guigne. He came back so embarrassed that he gave up refereeing.

The tie was resolved in a playoff in Paris, which Madrid won 3-1. The players had hit each other so much in the three games that they still came to dinner like fighting cocks. At the time, it was customary for the European Cup to have a common dinner after the game, with gifts and speeches. That was the last. After the incidents in Paris, the tradition disappeared. Madrid lost its desire and since it was the club that set the tone, that ended everywhere.