The very famous, star Uruguayan footballer (Americans would call him “soccer player”) Luis Suarez, formerly of Barcelona and coveted by Turin’s club Juventus, has recently taken an exam in the Italian language at the University of Perugia (pictured above), which was necessary for him to obtain Italian citizenship.

In the end he failed, so goodbye to citizenship and to contract with Juventus, amounting to an estimated ten million euros’ salary.

Now Suarez will have to remain in Spain, hired for a similar pay by Atletico Madrid.

I’m not, usually, particularly interested in football/soccer, but this is a weird story with a humorous twist.

Juventus were forced to renounce a champion and the state will not collect the taxes that the Turin club would have been obliged to pay – and we know how much the Italian government and Italy in general would need the money after the economic crisis induced by Covid-19, to be fair not just in Italy but in the world. The editor of the Libero Italian newspaper, Vittorio Feltri, has written:

A more disastrous result is unimaginable. It seems clear to me that the rules in this area are idiotic. The renowned striker was not hired to deliver learned speeches in Dante’s language, but to score goals, that is, to kick as God commands, things he knows how to do very well. Instead he was rejected because he knows only the infinitive of verbs and cannot conjugate them. A bit like [Luigi] Di Maio for whom the subjunctive is a dense mystery. In spite of this, he can easily be the foreign minister, while the striker, according to the stupidest rules in the world, is not qualified to practise his top-quality artistry with the ball.

Feltri may be right or wrong about the rules under discussion, but his joke about the foreign minister is priceless.

On a more serious level, the University of Perugia, founded in 1308 by Pope Clement V, one of the world’s oldest universities, in 1925 established the University for Foreigners of Perugia to teach the Italian language and, in the words of the royal decree of its foundation, “affirm the superiority of Italian culture in the world”.

The University has lately been affected by financial difficulties resulting in a haemorrhage of students, especially Chinese, many of whom transferred to the University for Foreigners of Siena. Despite that, it remains the most famous university to teach Italian to foreign students.

University of Perugia for International Students