Joe Montemurro talks to The Early Kick-Off tonight, 6pm AEDT, beIN 3 | Foxtel, Kayo Sports, Fetch TV & beIN SPORTS CONNECT
When Joe Montemurro called time on his transformational tenure with Arsenal Women in mid-2021, he planned a long, lazy break unwinding in his ancestral home of Italy far away from the daily grind of club football.
That was until Juventus - the club Montemurro idolised as a kid growing up in Melbourne - came calling.
And, hey presto, the vacation became a new vocation.
Eight months on, Juventus has won the Italian Super Cup, sits six points clear atop the Serie A table, is in the last eight of the Italian Cup and has reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the very first time.
The expression of unabashed wonderment has rarely left the face of the 52 year-old Australian since he touched down in Turin.
It’s looking like a marriage made in heaven between the fashionably disheveled, bouffant-haired coach and the club hellbent on turning long-held domestic dominance into European success.
Montemurro’s breezy, disarming persona camouflages a steely streak and a tactical and technical proficiency which begets success.
He’s entering uncharted territory domestically with the Super Cup already in his keeping and the Serie A and Italian Cup in his sights.
Beyond that, the ex-Melbourne City women’s coach is daring to dream of a fantastical quadruple - the desire to conquer Europe like some sort of modern day Caeser his abiding narrative.
“The domestic part of that equation would be a first in itself for the club, and far from easy. But we’re chasing it hard,” Montemurro told beIN SPORTS.
“We don’t want to lose any of the momentum we’ve built up and of course the big one - the cherry on top if you like - is the Champions League where in many people’s eyes we’ve over-achieved by going as far as we have.”
Juventus traversed a group of death, including last year’s finalist Chelsea and two-time winner Wolfsburg, to set up a two-legged last-eight tie with perennial powerhouse Lyon next month.
Ask Montemurro about the plausibility of a quadruple and he smiles broadly at the such a seemingly preposterous proposition.
“It would be a dream - something out of the box. But, hey, it’s something you can write about now while it’s still hanging in the air!
“We’re really pleased with the way the team has developed, its style of play and the level and the standards we’ve reached.
“The women’s game is becoming more difficult across the board, teams are spending more money and recruiting better players.
“Nobody is standing still. In Italy we go full time professional next year and that will provide even more impetus. You have to keep lifting your standards or you get left behind.”
Montemurro’s heritage always hinted at his eventual embracing of la dolce vita.
His family came to Australia from Italy, he took to the mother tongue like a teat and spoke it throughout his youth.
He was hypnotised by the great Juventus team of the 1970s led by Giovanni Trapattoni and played for the Italian immigrant-founded Brunswick Juventus as a youngster, before spending a portion of his senior career toiling in Italy’s lower leagues. He even completed his UEFA Pro Coaching Licence in Florence.
“You really feel the strength of the brand here,” he added. “I’m proud to be a part of it.
“You know what the black and white stripes means to people around the world.
“Before coming to Italy I felt I needed some time out and was fully intending to take a bit of a break here after my three-and-half years at Arsenal.
“I needed to refresh myself. But when the call came it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“I already had family here and it feels very much like home.
“I’m privileged to be doing what I’m doing and I’ve got the freedom to follow my belief in a certain way of playing.
“We are getting there and getting closer.”
Though not superstitious by nature, If Montemurro is interested in omens it won’t be lost on him that this year’s Women’s Champions League final is set to be played at Juventus’s Allianz Stadium.