A center forward like him today would be
priceless and would score at least one goal per game . the most prolific attacking tandem in the history of Italian football, comparable to the legendary Gre-No-Li (Gren – Nordhal – Liedholm) of Scandinavian – Rossoneri origin.
Undoubtedly Charles left an indelible mark in Juventus history thanks to his prolific, daughter of an imperious detachment and a sense of the goal of a true champion but what has remained most impressed in the critics and that is handed down by those who have had the good fortune to know the Welsh colossus was undoubtedly closely related to his calmness, his being moderate, qualities that earned him the universally recognized label of ” Good Giant” .

Life and successes
Charles was born on December 27, 1931 in Swansea, a coastal city in south Wales, to a humble family (his parents were miners) and, only sixteen, he was hired by Leeds United, where I alternate, due to his imposing size, the role of attacker with that of central defender.
In the “Peacocks” he remains nine seasons with a haul of 150 goals in 297 appearances. A vice, that of the goal, which he did not lose even in Italy: he closed his luster with the Old Lady with 178 appearances and 105 goals in all competitions, bringing back an Italian Cup in his game bag in 1958-’59, the phenomenal pairing Scudetto – Coppa Italia in 1959-’60 and another championship (1960-’61) and without ever being booked or sent off. An incredible consistency of successes, fruit of the harmony and the perfect combination of totally different playing styles that guaranteed the Magic Trio.
Impossible, at least on 2/3 of the trio, not to make a parallel with today’s Juventus where, net of the less smoking character, Dybala recalls the left-handed genius of Sivori and Higuain , with the due differences, the physical overwhelming power of Charles . The difference lies at most in the third piece of the “triad”: it is difficult to find ties between Mandzukic and Boniperti but perhaps they represent the emblem of the discrepancies between the romantic football of that time and the physical football of today.
For his part, “King John” was a real Bulldozer, almost impossible to stop ball and chain despite the kicks and jerks. On the other hand, his physical grandeur meant that, in his youth, Charles even ventured into the activity ofboxer , however, with good results. In fact, having been in the ring for a year, his balance was remarkable: 10 victories in as many matches . Excellent record, no doubt about it, but boxing was not the sport suitable for such a calm and kind man and therefore remained a strange and folkloristic parenthesis in the life of the Welshman.
But we don’t want to focus too much on his sporting achievements, already known to the general public. What is important is to highlight the human side of him, the cordial but shy nature of him.

Good Giantwe said. These are not words of circumstance because the Welsh striker has often shown his docile and generous nature on the pitch. Just to convey the idea of ​​the character, some gestures that, in today’s football, we could define anachronistic, have gone down in history.
Two examples above all: in one of the many Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter. John, sprinting towards the goal defended by Matteucci, elbowed an opponent involuntarily in an attempt to free himself, but the referee let it go. The tip would have had the opportunity to leave undisturbed, but stopped to go and check the conditions of the colleague who fell to the ground.
And again: Juventus – Sampdoria, the referee Grignani sent Sivori out of the field (here, not exactly the clone of the British ram) for a very bad intervention. The Argentine lashes out at the referee to make himself justice but Charles, with disarming ease, grabs him, slaps him and pushes him away, avoiding a heavier disqualification than the one that would have been inflicted on him.

The decline
After the decline in performance, mainly linked to knee surgery, I returned to Leeds, but only for a few months because in 1962 he was hired by Roma.
Soon, however, in the capital it was realized that King John’s downward trend was now incontrovertible and only 4 goals in the season were merciless confirmation as well as viaticum for the definitive return to Great Britain, where he closed his career in second-rate teams. , such as Cardiff City and Hereford United .
The decline in football, unfortunately, corresponded to the personal decline because, taking off the role of the bomber, Charles struggled to find his own dimension as a man; divorced from his wife, he became a slave to alcohol and, from a not very talkative person as he was, he shut himself up at home away from friends and relatives.
Indeed, in 1988 he was arrested due to debts and problems with the taxman. Continuous health problems weakened him without pause, until his sad and final death, at the age of 72, on February 21, 2004 . In 2005, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, UEFA invited each member national federation to indicate their best player of the last half century. The choice of the Welsh fell on Charles, then designated Golden Player by the FAW. Small consolation.
However, the memory remains, alive in those who lived it directly and also in those who heard it handed down, of a formidable footballer and a distinguished, honest and simple man, who will not be forgotten.

John Charles, modern center forward, a man of other times.

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