Although lesser known by football fans nowadays, John Charles is revered by Juventus fans as one of the most important players in the club's history. He was affectionately called II Buon Gigante, or the Gentle Giant, by the Juventus fans.
John Charles started his illustrious career with Leeds United, where he scored a record 42 goals in a single season. He was a versatile player who had the rare talent and skill to be proficient in both defending and attacking. Due to his remarkable skills, Charles strangely played as an attacker for his club side, but he played as a centre-back for Wales.
John Charles and Juventus - A love story
The British transfer record was broken by Juventus when they signed John Charles for a whooping £67,000. He became one of the first British players to be signed by an overseas club. He enjoyed a very successful spell in Turin with Juventus as his attacking flair won them multiple trophies.
John Charles' towering performances and his humble character made him a fan favorite in Italy. He epitomized sportsmanship qualities with his excellent behavior towards teammates, opponents, and even the fans. All these qualities made him a genuine legend in the country.
The Italian league was very different from the English league. The teams were very organized and disciplined, and the managers put a lot of emphasis on the defense of their teams. The games were much more technical and centered around the defense, making the league very defensive-minded.
John Charles, however, had this excellent ability to open up the opponents' defense with his skills. His aerial capabilities were unmatched, and he was a very efficient goalscorer. He went on to score an astonishing 105 goals in just 179 matches, winning three Serie A and two Italian Cups. He unlocked the scoring potential at Juventus.
John Charles with Wales and his remarkable legacy
In the 1958 World Cup, Wales played very well. They held the weakened Hungarian Magnificent Magyars to a 1-1 draw, but John Charles was injured in the rematch between the two sides. Charles missed the next match against Brazil, in which a 17-year-old Pele scored to knock Wales out. The Welsh manager stated that they could've won if Charles had played.
John Charles will always be remembered as an enterprising centre-forward and centre-back with devastating goalscoring exploits. His strange positional rotation capabilities have helped whichever teams he played for win games and trophies.