Sometimes Turin feels a couple of decades behind in terms of its general openness to different kinds of people. I have grown tired of walking into stores and feeling as if the owner expects me to rob the place. There is only so many times you can arrive at Turin airport and have the sniffer dogs treat you like you are Pablo Escobar. I have not experienced any racism from Juventus fans or within the women's league, but there is an issue in Italy and in Italian football and it is the response to it that really worries me, from owners and fans in the men's game who seem to see it as a part of fan culture.
These words, published by Eniola Aluko in her 28 November 2019 Guardian article entitled End of my Italian chapter means trading Turin for fresh adventures, sparked an immediate reaction in Italy, ranging from denial to absurdity - "I am sure that they looked at her in the shops because she is a beautiful woman," said Maria Luisa Coppa, president of Ascom, the Turin business association. Yet by commenting on her experience at Juventus, the football star merely pointed out problems that have long been evident to those who care to observe closely Italian sport and indeed Italian society.
In conversation with sports journalist Francesca Baraghini, Eniola will provide a broad look at her experience - prejudice, identity, success, failure, faith - themes also explored in her autobiography They don’t teach this (Penguin, 2019). Eniola recently took leave of her "Dear Friend Football" after having made a record 102 appearances, scoring 33 goals, in the English national team.