From making his debut for Juventus as an academy graduate to being an alleged rape convict, the career of Manolo Portanova has gone downhill in three years.
In May 2019, the lenses captured the glittering face of a juvenile. “Manolo Portanova,” the commentator introduced the Juventus academy graduate to the world as the then 19-year-old was preparing to enter the field as a second-half substitute. The moment marked the youngster’s debut for Bianconeri’s senior side, with him coming on as Emre Can’s replacement that night.
Although they eventually went on to lose the game against Sampdoria by a 2-0 margin, Portanova was able to get a seal of approval on his footballing quality from Juve’s management team, which led him to make three more senior appearances for the Old Lady.
In January 2021, Portanova joined Genoa from Juve for a reported transfer fee of €10million. The move was thought to help his professional career reach new heights. Many assumed that he was about to see a spiralling growth in terms of playing time and development.
But no such thing came to the realisation, with the Naples-born midfielder having played in 23 games—compiling a tally of 1,241 minutes of game-time—across all competitions since his arrival at the capital of northwest Italy’s Liguria region.
A report took the footballing world by a sense of astonishment in June 2021, five months after Portanova joined Genoa. The headline included the words: “Portanova”, “rape”, and “arrested.” While diving into details, a keen eye interpreted that Portanova had been accused of gang-raping a 21-year-old woman at a house party in Siena, and the player got arrested while spending his vacation in Messina.
Other than him, two adults—including a relative of the midfielder—and a 17-year-old were reported to have played a part in the sexual assault that had taken place in Siena’s city centre on May 30, 2021. The teenager, as per the reports from ANSA, is under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court of Florence.
Initially, Portanova was kept under house arrest, but the sentence was revoked later. As things stand, the 21-year-old alleged rapist will appear in the Court of Siena on June 7 for the trial. Meanwhile, there lingers a primary question as to why Genoa have continued to field Portanova despite understanding the extent of these heinous allegations and rape charges.
The record shows that Portanova has played 20 matches and amassed 1,177 minutes of playing time this season in Serie A so far. He has started almost every game for Geona in recent time, with his last appearance for The Grifone coming in their 2-0 defeat to Hellas Verona on Monday afternoon.