He grew up idolizing Juventus, which makes next month’s Foxtel A-League All-Stars clash an extra special occasion for Newcastle Jets keeper Mark Birighitti.
The talented 23-year-old was one of four players added to Josep Gombau’s final 20-man squad this week for the highly anticipated clash with the Italian champions on August 10.
“I’ve been supporting the club since I was about five and coming from an Italian family I’m a big Juventus supporter,” Birighitti told www.a-leagueallstars.com.au
“All my family talk about at home is about football and they get into arguments all the time.
“I remember when I was a young kid, whether it was birthdays or Christmas, my parents would always buy me the latest Juventus shirt.
“So to actually come up against them, these top quality players and being a goal-keeper I look up to (Gianluigi) Buffon, he’s been one of my idols since I was a young kid.
“Just to hopefully play against him, it would be nice to have a chat with him and hopefully get to meet him.
“He’s been there, he’s done it and he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world, what a person to look up to.”
Birighitti said the chance to face Juventus caps a whirlwind few months for the former Reds shot-stopper, which included being a part of the Socceroos’ initial 27-man squad that went to Brazil.
While he didn’t make the final cut for the tournament, the Jets gloveman said he has returned to training a far more confident goalkeeper and hopes he can show his wares against the Italian giants.
“Just being around the group, the likes of Timmy [Cahill], Bresh [Mark Bresciano] and Mile Jedinak, you learn so much and you can’t help but become a better player,” Birighitti said.
“You figure out what it takes to become a good player and hopefully I can get a chance to play because they’re a top quality outfit with world class players.
“I think they [Juventus] had 13 or 14 players in the squad that were part of the World Cup. I’m looking forward to the experience and hopefully I do get some game time with all my family and friends coming over for the game.
“For my mum, dad, sister brother in law, they’ve sacrificed a lot and this is a reward for them as well for all the hard work and sacrifice that they’ve put in to where I got today.
“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be enjoying these good experiences.”
FOXTEL A-League All Stars v Juventus FC
Sunday 10 August 2014
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7:30 pm AEST
Category A - $169.50 all tickets
Category B - $99.50 Adult, $59.50 Concession, $258.50 Family
Category C - $59.50 Adult, $39.50 Concession, $158.50 Family
Juventus Active Area - $59.50 Adult, $39.50 Concession
Ticket Prices are inclusive of GST & Booking Fee. Transaction and credit card charges may apply.
Ticket Price Includes Public Transport, conditions apply.
Concession (Pensioner, Student, Child)
Pensioner - Aged, TPI (valid ID cards) including seniors cards
Student - Full time tertiary and secondary school students (valid ID required)
Child - 4–16 years inclusive (children 3 years and under are free unless they are occupying a seat)
Family – 2 Adults and 2 Children (4-16) or 1 Adult and 3 Children (4-16)
National Companion Card Accepted