The heroes in black and white: Alessandro DEL PIERO


It is 1993-94 and in Turin a young man of good hopes arrives, with curly hair and admirable right hand. The boy has already shown himself in Padua, in the Primavera and also in the first team, despite his young age. "I always liked sport, I played basketball a bit, tennis without a teacher, but sport was just football. An uncontrollable passion. I was at school and I thought about the ball, I ate with the ball and then away, out. My parents were fantastic because they never forced or gassed me. That is the big mistake. The behavior of parents is decisive for sports children. I also had the example of my older brother Stefano: he was at Samp, in the Spring, with Lippi. He saw it before me.

In my backyard I often played alone: ​​so much imagination is needed. I was a Juve champion, I passed the ball to Cabrini, to Tardelli, to Scirea, I was duet with Platini. And my Juve in the courtyard was also full of foreigners: today Maradona, tomorrow Van Basten, the day after tomorrow Zico or Gullit; and I made goals.

The first tournament I play with a real uniform, yellow and blue: Municipal School of Saccon. Gialloblu was also the color of Conegliano. The identical shirts mean team. We lost that tournament in the final on penalties, vabbeh, it happens, it wouldn't have been the only time. I left home at thirteen. I was fascinated, I was at Padua, it was another dimension: necessary, to really try to be a soccer player. But the first year was difficult, I'm a shy boy, even now I am. We lived in fourteen rooms in a room, lunch came overcooked from the canteen, and upon returning from school it was inedible: however, so you grow up. I was the youngest, of age and build: then, oh God, I did not become Shaquille O’Neal, but I defend myself. The beginning, I must say, was a bit traumatic. My mom remembers when I used to go to the train and was advised, "Stay close to other people, be careful". I had to change in Mestre, I waited for the coincidence even thirty, forty minutes. Then, Mom and Dad came to visit me in Padua, and I: "Watch out for the change of track in Mestre". Here, my mother says that at that moment she understood that I had grown up. It happens when children worry about their parents, not vice versa ».

The numbers are there and so the president Giampiero Boniperti and the coach Giovanni Trapattoni, decide that Alessandro Del Piero deserves to be part of Juventus. At nineteen, the right place is the Spring and so Ale enters the pink of Mr. Cuccureddu, immediately becoming a leader. That is a team that will give top-level players respectable players like Cammarata, Manfredini, Squizzi and Binotto.

The pure talent of that Venetian young man emerges with arrogance and leads the Primavera to an unrepeatable one-two: Viareggio Tournament and category title: «It was a beautiful experience, unforgettable. Juventus Primavera was a strong team, which managed to establish itself in two events in which the Bianconeri victory had been missing for many years. Even if for the first team that was not a great year, but a season of transition, at youth level we took off a great satisfaction ».

He was already training with the first team, but: «Let's say I was half way through, but with the first team I trained regularly, I went to the training camp and Mr. Trapattoni also let me play. In the end I scored fourteen appearances and five goals. What to say? As a first year at Juventus it was wonderful ».

That the boy had an extra gear, moreover, had already been understood at the beginning of the season: if Del Piero seems like an extraterrestrial with his peers, a week of autumn is enough to see how, with the grown-ups, he is already perfectly at his ease. On September 12, 1993, Ale made his Serie A debut in Foggia: "If I have to be honest, more than the moment I entered the field, I remember more the excitement of the match on the bench. I was really absorbed by the game. We were tied against a Foggia, which was then strong. Let's say I have stronger emotions and memories from the following week ».

Three days later, in the Uefa Cup, against Lokomotiv Moscow, here is the debut in Europe. September 19 then; at the Delle Alpi, at the 80th minute of Juventus-Reggiana, Del Piero stamped the 4-0 of a match already scored. It seems an unimportant goal, given the score. In reality, thinking about it now, it is the first chapter of a book that will rewrite Juventus history: «It was a really exciting day. We won, I scored my first goal and it was also my parents' wedding anniversary. It was a special day in every sense ».

And it is precisely in that year that one of his first memories related to Avvocato Agnelli refers, who then followed his path step by step and has always paid special attention to him, nicknamed him Pinturicchio.

"In fact, my memories of the lawyer are many, but there is one that I like to talk about on this occasion. It happened in that very first year of mine at Juventus. Before the home game with Milan, which we then lost 1-0, there were many injured players in the team and Trapattoni decided to let me play. It was my first major game, I was only nineteen. I remember that before going on the pitch for pre-race warm-up, they called me because there was a call for me. I approached a phone by Delle Alpi and heard the lawyer's voice. He wanted to make me "good luck". I was speechless ».

The second year of Ale at Juventus is marked by great changes, first of all at the top: the company is now led by Roberto Bettega, Antonio Giraudo and Luciano Moggi, respectively vice president, managing director and general manager. The president is the lawyer Vittorio Caissotti of Chiusano. The new management makes a courageous choice: the team is entrusted to Marcello Lippi, a young coach, who has performed well on the benches of Naples and Atalanta. The coach from Viareggio loves an unprejudiced kick, committed to attack and in the first year of the three points to win, his choices prove to be winning.

Del Piero has already shown himself in the previous season, with five goals in fourteen appearances (between the league and cups), including an exciting triplet trimmed to Parma; Roberto Baggio's precarious physical condition opens his doors wide. Ale is only twenty years old, but he also has a personality to sell and scores very heavy goals. An example? December 4, 1994, at the Delle Alpi: Fiorentina leads 0-2.

Twenty minutes from the end Juventus comes out of torpor and triumphs: Vialli scores two goals in three minutes, but to complete the comeback is Del Piero, with a film library net: a soft touch, on the fly, of the right neck, which corrects to the shoulders of an astonished Toldo a throw of forty meters: «That goal was without doubt one of my two favorites. It was a very nice goal, scored on an unforgettable day. The comeback on Fiorentina, from 0-2 to 3-2 thanks to Vialli's two goals and my goal, was a great demonstration of character from our team that from that moment started the famous impressive series of victories ».

A pearl, but it is not the only one: only a week passes and Juventus has to go to Rome to play against Lazio, a very difficult race. The Azzurri are a superpower and Lippi has half a team unavailable. Ale, however, has broad shoulders and if there is to lead the team he does not make himself pray; two goals, the first in Serie A and the final result of 4-3 which launches the Bianconeri at the top of the table. They will stay there until the end, bringing back to Turin a championship that was missing for nine years, winning the Italian Cup and touching the Uefa Cup. A star team, which already has its brightest star in Del Piero.

Ale is already a fan idol and the company decides to focus on him with conviction; Roberto Baggio emigrates to Milan and from that moment the number ten does not come off the shoulders of Ale. It is the number of champions and Del Piero wears it with natural elegance, ennobling it with superb plays, which lead to the most sought-after goal: the Champions League.

Begins in Dortmund, against Borussia and Ale enchants: the Germans immediately go ahead with the former MOller, Juventus equalized shortly after with Padovano. The game is difficult, but the San Vendemiano phenomenon has a shot in store that will go down in history: from the left top corner of the penalty area, it leaves a shot full of effect that goes through the post plus the alder and the crossbar, precise in seven.

It's the goal for Del Piero, who in Italy had already shown the previous year against Napoli, but which, signed in Europe against the Germans and repeated against Rangers Glasgow and Steaua Bucharest, becomes his international trademark. The most precious goal however arrives in the quarter-finals. Juventus have to go back up against Real Madrid with a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu and Ale takes sixteen minutes to put things right, with an evil punishment, which the Spanish goalkeeper can only watch. Padovano will then close the account, paving the way towards the semi-final with Nantes and towards the triumph of Rome.

Juventus is the lady of Europe and on November 26, 1996 she becomes the master of the world: The Intercontinental Cup has been missing since 1985, from the victory over the Argentinos Junior signed by the decisive rigor of Michel Platini. Once again on the road of the bianconeri there are Argentines, those of the River Plate, of the little jewel Ortega. The press exalts itself in distance battles between the South American and Del Piero and, to reread them now, those comparisons seem almost blasphemous. It is Ale who decides the challenge, at the end, finding, with the precision of his right, a crack in the Argentine defense and bringing Juventus to the top of the Olympus of world football: «That goal was beautiful, important, unforgettable. And the victory of the Intercontinental Cup was the perfect crowning of two and a half years of victorious rides ».

After only three years at Juventus, Ale has already won but Champions League; a Scudetto, an Italian Cup and an Italian Supercup: But already in the first months of the 1996-97 season, the loot increases consistently, with the Intercontinental Cup and with the European Super Cup: the designated victim of a Juventus grinder is Paris St. Germain; even humiliated at home by 6-1 and settled in the return match, played in Palermo, with a 3-1 to which Del Piero participated with a double.

In the championship it is a triumphal march: only the Parma of Buffon, Cannavaro and Thuram try to keep pace with the bianconeri, but Juventus grinds points and gives show and comes the twenty-fourth championship, the second for Ale. The season could be unforgettable, but the second consecutive Champions League final has an unexpected ending. Juventus regains Borussia Dortmund; always crushed in recent years; in Monaco, however, the Germans play a proud game and the masterpiece signed by Del Piero in the second half is worth nothing: a goal from an anthology heel that is not enough, however, for the bianconeri to hit the perfect season.

The following year, after winning the Italian Super Cup against Vicenza in the summer, there is no one in the league: Inter tries to thwart the Juventus army, thanks to Ronaldo's arrival; but the real phenomenon is Ale that in thirty-two games marks the beauty of twenty-one goals, the last of which was against Inter, in the decisive challenge of April 26 at Delle Alpi. A goal worth a championship: the second in a row, the second in a row third for Del Piero. Unfortunately, however, in the Champions League the bianconeri hit the final, but they are defeated by Real Madrid in Amsterdam.

In the first four years of the pair Del Piero-Lippi, Juventus always wins and wins everything and even the fifth season seems to start on the right foot. The bianconeri are firmly at the top of the table and at the eighth day they visit Udinese; Zidane and Inzaghi hit the mark, putting three points in the safe and everything seems to be going right. A few minutes from the end Del Piero starts on the left on speed, looks for the cross, but is thwarted and remains on the ground: His left knee is gone: rupture of the cruciate ligament and collateral; he will have to work and stay out for at least six months. His season is over.

That of Juventus continues, but without Ale, it is no longer the same thing: the problems seem to multiply and Lippi delivers his resignation after the home defeat against Parma. In February the bench is entrusted to Ancelotti, who finds however a team in difficulty. The championship is now compromised and the adventure in the Champions League ends against Manchester United, capable of replacing Inzaghi's double disadvantage in the Delle Alpi.

It is an unlucky season and the Bianconeri also miss the qualification for the Uefa Cup. To get there you will have to go through the Intertoto: in the summer, during this tournament, Ale returns to the field and returns to the goal. The next two years do not bring the hoped-for triumphs. In the 1999-2000 season, Ancelotti's team, after months at the top of the rankings, sees the championship dream fade at the last day, in the quagmire of Perugia, and the following year Capello's Roma will sew the tricolor on his chest. Juventus does not win, but Ale does not stop and reaches ninety-nine goal in the bianconera shirt.

The 2001-02 season presents a revolutionary Juventus at the start: in the field, where Inzaghi and Zidane start and Buffon, Thuram and Nedved arrive, and on the bench, where Ancelotti gives way to the return of Marcello Lippi. The start is at full speed: at the Delle Alpi comes the Venice, outclassed by the brace of Trezeguet, promoted holder, and that of Ale that in one fell swoop reaches and exceeds a historic goal: 100 bianconera jersey goal.

At the end of the season, Del Piero's scoring in the league will be sixteen and the latter will have a special flavor: Juventus goes to Udine on the last day of the championship. The bianconeri are second in the standings, one point behind Inter who play at the Olympic stadium against Lazio. It is an afternoon that gives strong emotions: in Udine, Trezeguet hits the mark after two minutes and Del Piero closes the account in the eleventh minute. At the Olimpico it ends 4-2 for Lazio. Juventus is the Italian champion for the twenty-sixth time, for Ale it is the fourth championship.

The fifth comes the following year, after a triumphal ride, embellished with sixteen other Ale pearls. Juventus, which also won the Italian Super Cup in the summer, is also strong in Europe. In the Champions League the semi-final return against Real Madrid is memorable: at the Bernabeu the "Merengues" prevail for 2-1, but at the Delle Alpi the bianconeri play one of their best games. In the 3-1 that paves the way towards the final of Manchester, there is also the signature of Del Piero who stamps with a magic of his the momentary 2-0.

However, at the Old Trafford against Milan comes a bitter disappointment; a few months later Juventus will take its revenge in the Italian Super Cup played in New York against the Rossoneri and that will be the only trophy of the season at the gates, the last of the Lippi era.

On the Juventus bench comes Fabio Capello, who has won everywhere, has always won and at the head of the most titled team of Italy can only do the same. Juventus takes the lead in the championship standings and no longer gives it up, at the limit it splits it into joint ownership with Milan, until the decisive May 8th challenge at San Siro. And it is in that game that all the talent and charisma of Ale come out: Juventus win thanks to a goal by Trezeguet, but the captain is the best in the field and it is he who brushes the assist with a spectacular reversed David transforms into a network.

It is important to underline that gesture, because Ale is not only a goleador, but he is also a player who knows how to put himself at the team's service and if he is not the one to score, often it is he who sends his teammates online. A quality that is not reported in the statistics, but that is as precious as the extraordinary flair of the goal of the biggest scorer in the history of Juventus: "It is very important to put ourselves at the service of the team, in all senses", confirms Del Piero, "that from Milan it was an assist different from the others, it made me very happy because I did it in a particular game and at a particular moment, given that we had just left the Champions League ».

He beat Giampiero Boniperti's record on January 10, 2006, in the second leg of the Coppa Italia round of 16, against Fiorentina, the team to which he scored one of his favorite goals. He was a boy on December 4, 1994, when he made that wonderful goal that overturned, together with the brace of Vialli, a bad 0-2 in an extraordinary 3-2, which showed that Juventus was a team with all grit and character, that would have gone far away, that would have opened a cycle, that that young man of twenty years would have become a champion. And so it was.

Twelve years later, Del Piero set the all-time record for Juventus and just against Fiorentina, a sign of destiny. The long-awaited record goal, the 183, arrives after just eight minutes: Alessandro receives the ball, controls for his own and with a great left beats the goalkeeper. The captain celebrates with his teammates, with the fans, while, through the speaker, Juventus crowns him the first bomber in history. Ale is unstoppable. Thus, on the 17th minute, the number 184 goal arrived, a free kick, a specialty of his. And to finish in style, in the 57th minute he scored a penalty with a penalty. And I'm 185. Start the party.

At the end of the race, compliments are wasted. Managers, friends, journalists and his coach, Fabio Capello: «He lived an extraordinary evening. He passed Boniperti and entered the legend. It has achieved this goal with great merit for what it has done over the years and for the constant commitment it shows every day. He is a player who has always been on the pitch. At the moment he is in excellent shape, he will make a great comeback and he will reach the World Championships in very great condition »., which dedicates to him a splendid "splash page" and a special dedicated to his extraordinary career, makes record numbers, his personal website is full of messages from all over the world. Enthusiasm is growing during the waiting for the party, organized by the company for the following Sunday, in the pre-match of Juventus-Reggina. A video with all our captain's goals is projected on the big screen of the Delle Alpi stadium, while the curve exposes a giant banner: «183 Alessandro Del Piero, emperor of Juventus».

Alessandro leaves a few minutes before the start of heating. He is excited, he goes under his curve that this time too shows him all the affection with which he has accompanied him in every moment of his extraordinary career. Then the official celebration begins. A few minutes before the start of the game, eleven youngsters enter the field wearing the teams' wizards to whom Alessandro has scored the most important goals, from River Plate to Fiorentina, passing through Milan, Inter, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.

Meanwhile, the engaging "splash page" of the official website is projected and, next to the stage set up in the middle of the pitch, another banner is exposed: "Alessandro Del Piero 183 goal, one shirt, unique in history".

The captain goes on stage accompanied by President Franzo Grande Stevens who hands him the plate with all his goals: "I thank the company and the fans for their celebrations," says Alessandro, who then crowns an unforgettable day signing the victory over Reggina with another pearl, an unstoppable sinister.

«It is a source of great pride for me to be part of the history of Juventus. I thank the company, my coaches and the comrades of today and yesterday who have allowed me to reach this extraordinary goal. If I have to be honest at the moment I still can't even realize it, with the passage of time this feeling will be even stronger, I'm sure. Today, in fact, I am seized by competition, by current events, it is not yet time to remember goals made and trophies won, it will be something I will look at with a different eye in a few years. Now I live it as a stupendous goal conquered, but at the same time as an important stage of a long journey ».

The rest is recent history: the second Capello logo, the fabulous German world, the splendid goal to the hosts and the great emotion of raising the World Cup, the Calciopoli scandal and the choice to remain at Juventus also in Serie B In the cadet championship, Juventus and Ale are absolute protagonists; the Juventus team wins the promotion with three days in advance and Del Piero wins the top scorer classification, with twenty goals.

«In the drama (sports, of course) of playing in Serie B, it was a beautiful year. Of course, for me and for Juventus, they represented an absurdity, compared to the story we designed together. However, I lived it well, facing it cleanly and enthusiastically. At the base of the results we have obtained, there is this availability on the part of everyone; and the sentimental balance is positive for me. I have the Serie B year inside, in the form of pride; my companions and I have carried out an almost glorious undertaking, also exciting in its dynamics, in having recovered the disadvantage of the penalization ".

Juventus returns to Serie A and wins an excellent third place; Ale is again at the top of the scorer standings, ahead of teammate Trezeguet. Only Paolo Rossi had managed to win the Serie B and Serie A scorers' standings consecutively: "The top scorer, for the second consecutive time, for the first time in Serie A. If I had imagined it at the beginning of the season I would have I bet that, having reached the top of the rankings, the first thought would have been: "I told you so …", addressed to those who did not believe it, to those who never believed in it. But when I really reached this goal, I realized that the first thing I thought, actually, was: "You told me …", addressed to those who, instead, believed in me. To those who have always believed in it. To those who have never stopped inciting me. To those who have supported me, to those who have worked with me. You all told me, yes, and I said so too. And, in the end, I scored twenty-one goals in the league, twenty-four overall in the season ».

The new season does not start well for the Bianconeri colors; despite qualifying for the Champions League, the team is struggling and Ranieri is under indictment. It will be Ale himself, with a steel pact with his companions, to save the Roman coach and to revive Juventus. With two great performances against Real Madrid, Del Piero and his companions take the Juventus team to qualify for the first knockout round of the top European competition. The victory at the Santiago Bernabeu is decisive; it was from 1962 that Juventus did not come out victorious from the "Merengues" stadium. Del Piero is absolute protagonist of this prestigious victory, scoring both Juventus goals; the first with a very precise left-hand torpedo from the edge of the area and the second with a perfect free kick.

Five minutes from the end, Ale is replaced by De Ceglie and receives a standing ovation from the admired public from Madrid, to whom he dedicates a bow: "I swear I hadn't studied it. It happened suddenly; I see that Ranieri prepares a change and I ask him to leave, because five minutes before I had taken a blow to the curtain. I take the band off my arm and hear the audience begin to applaud me. I walked twenty meters to the ground for that homage, it came to me spontaneously to bow down to thank the actors as they do, because the Bernabeu is a great theater, the greatest of football. When you are inside you perceive that history has passed away ».

On May 10, 2009, at San Siro against Milan in the 1-1 match, he enters twenty minutes from the end, thus playing his seventeenth presence with the Juventus jersey, an absolute record. A week later, on 17 May, with 397 appearances in Serie A in the Juventus shirt, he equals the myth of Gaetano Scirea. On May 24, in the match won 3-0 against Siena, he scored twice and assisted for Marchisio, thus reaching twenty-one seasonal goals, of which eight were on a free kick, nine on action, four on penalty. On May 31, the Silver Ball was awarded to the Olympic Stadium in Turin, in recognition of the most correct player of 2008-09.

Due to a muscle injury to his left thigh, caused by a blow to his back remedied in mid-August training, he is forced to miss the first six games of the new season. He made his debut in the championship on 27 September 2009 at home with Bologna, entering the field in the final minutes and crossing the line in 400 Serie A appearances. He was injured again on 1 October, provoking a first-second degree of muscular distraction during training on the left thigh, the same as the previous injury.

While waiting for the return to the field, he presents his new official website and, on November 12, 2009, receives the International Sport and Civilization Award – Ambassador of Sport. Back on the field on November 22nd with Udinese in the 1-0 victory welcomed by continuous ovations from their fans. After several benches, he returns to the goal in the second round of the Coppa Italia with Napoli on 13 January 2010, scoring a decisive one-two for the next round. It marks the first goal of the season in the league in the defeat against Roma at the Olimpico in Turin with a great left-footed volley on the opposite pole from a tight angle. The following Sunday, Juventus equalized with Lazio and Del Piero transformed the 1-0 penalty obtained by himself, is the first goal with Zaccheroni on the bench.

On February 14, 2010, he dragged Juventus into a 3-2 win over Genoa, scoring a double that earned Zaccheroni his first victory; in the same game he totaled the presence number 445, surpassing Giampiero Boniperti: «A day to remember, started with the applause that the Olympic audience gave me when the deputy general manager Roberto Bettega handed me the shirt with the number 445 and the celebratory plaque. I was very pleased to receive that applause before the start of the game, at a time when the fans had little to celebrate given the difficult time, with the victory that had been missing since 6 January. They went beyond disappointment. I am happy to have been able to repay them at the end of the game. With this match, I passed Giampiero Boniperti in the league standings, which is why it is such an important goal. Once again my career is intertwined with that of the President who brought me to Juventus, the man who made the history of this club on the pitch and then in society. I heard it a short time ago, we joked about the games: he played his 444 games all in Serie A, but in my 445 I also have thirty-one in Serie B. But apart from jokes, for what they meant in the my career and for Juve, those appearances in B are a source of pride! I am very satisfied to have celebrated an occasion like this with a victory that we have pursued to the last, strongly desired, sought with determination and pride, ability to suffer and reassemble as we had never done this season. He really wanted us. It was nice to score a double in front of my family, who cheered with me in the stands. What a day!"

March 14, 2010 marks the 300th goal in his career and then the 301th even if Juventus draw 3-3 against Siena after having scored three goals in ten minutes. Thus it becomes the fifth Italian ever to reach this milestone after Meazza, Piola, Roberto Baggio and Inzaghi, all players who have played in Juventus in the past. The bad Juventus championship and all the physical troubles he had to endure did not allow him to participate in his fourth World Cup, a goal to which he was particularly keen.

The season number seventeen starts with the bianconera shirt. On 17 October 2010 Del Piero broke yet another record of his legendary career: against Lecce, the Juventus captain achieves a beautiful left goal and reaches Giampiero Boniperti at 178 goals in Serie A with the Juventus shirt.

At the end of the race, Ale comments on this extraordinary achievement: "It is a further personal satisfaction, clearly, for the link with these colors and with this team. It is a boast, a pride. I always believe that special dedications are for people who work with me anyway, for my family and all the people who are very close to me. And then that is a good omen for our season, because we need it ".

On March 20, 2011, he scored a fabulous goal against Brescia: Ale left the ball from midfield, jumped a defender and concluded with a low-range shot. It is the network of the Bianconeri victory. On May 5, he renewed his contract with the Juventus company by one year: he will receive one million Euro more bonuses. The 2010-11 season ends with eleven goals and six assists making him the best seasonal scorer for Juventus for his ninth career.

The next season is Del Piero's last in Juventus. There are important news for Juventus: his old team-mate Antonio Conte is the new coach of the team and there is the debut of the new wonderful Juventus Stadium. Nella serata dell’inaugurazione dello stadio, Ale si presenta con Giampiero Boniperti accanto alla mitica panchina sulla quale, nel lontano 1897, fu fondata la Juventus.

Il 24 gennaio 2012 realizza la sua prima marcatura stagionale nel nuovo stadio nel 3-0 ai quarti di finale di Coppa Italia contro la Roma, con un classico goal alla Del Piero. Va a segno anche nella semifinale di ritorno a Torino contro il Milan firmando il goal dell’1-0. Il 25 marzo allo Juventus Stadium sigla il suo primo goal stagionale in campionato nel 2-0 sull’Inter, dopo uno splendido scambio con Vidal. L’11 aprile, dopo essere subentrato  a Vučinić nei minuti finali della sfida contro la Lazio, festeggia la 700ª partita con la Juventus segnando su punizione il goal della vittoria. Il 6 maggio 2012 conquista lo scudetto numero otto con una giornata d’anticipo, nella partita giocata a Trieste contro il Cagliari vinta 2-0, favorita anche dalla vittoria dell’Inter contro il Milan per 4-2.

Il 13 maggio 2012 disputa la sua ultima partita in campionato con la maglia della Juventus, contro l’Atalanta, segnando il 289° goal della sua carriera bianconera. Il capitano della Juventus esce dal campo al 57’, acclamato dai tifosi in lacrime per piu di dieci minuti, cosa mai successa in nessun campo di calcio. Il 20 maggio 2012, nella sfortunata finale di Coppa Italia contro il Napoli, la Juventus scende in campo con un distintivo speciale sulla maglia per celebrare l’ultima partita in bianconero del suo numero dieci.

Il significato di essere maturato in una societa come la Juventus, che in tutto il mondo e presa ad esempio: «È stato piu che importante, e stato fondamentale. La mia storia personale, il mio percorso di calciatore sono maturati nell’ambiente bianconero, profondamente influenzato dallo stile e dal carisma di personaggi come l’avvocato Gianni Agnelli, Chiusano, ora Grande Stevens, e poi Bettega, Giraudo e Moggi. In particolare, voglio dedicare un pensiero alla figura del dottor Umberto, sempre molto vicino a me personalmente e alla squadra. La sua era una presenza discreta eppure molto attenta, incisiva, un vero punto di riferimento per tutti. Ripenso spesso al gruppo fantastico della prima Juventus di Lippi. Quel gruppo era straordinario, ha permesso a noi giovani di crescere e tutti assieme abbiamo conquistato le vittorie piu straordinarie. In pochi anni abbiamo fatto cose strepitose, compresa la vittoria della Champions League, finalmente, visto che prima di noi era stata vinta una volta sola, ma era stata macchiata dalla tragedia dell’Heysel. Era come una maledizione e noi l’abbiamo sfatata. Quelli sono stati gli anni della mia vera crescita e di questo ringrazio Marcello Lippi e i compagni di allora».

Il cambiamento rispetto al giovanissimo Del Piero: «Cambiato poco, maturato tanto. Ritengo, infatti, che tutto quello che ero prima dei diciotto anni sia stato una base fondamentale per creare la persona che sono adesso».

C’e un goal che ha un significato particolare: «Quello che ho segnato a Bari il 18 febbraio 2001, pochi giorni dopo la scomparsa di mio padre; e stato il momento peggiore della mia vita, come un risveglio che non capivo, sentirsi ancora profondamente figlio e non capire il motivo per cui doverci rinunciare. Ma tutti i goal sono emozionanti, anche se sono le punizioni che mi danno maggiore soddisfazione. Poi, ricordo con piacere anche i tre goal di tacco; uno, purtroppo, inutile nella finale contro il Borussia Dortmund, uno in casa con il Siena e uno con il Torino. Ma, ce n’e uno che ricordo con piacere, perche fu proprio un bel goal, anche se fu annullato, perche ci diedero la partita vinta a tavolino. Era la stagione 1994-95, giocavamo a Sofia, in Coppa Uefa contro il CSKA. Perdemmo 3-2, ma i bulgari mandarono in campo un giocatore squalificato, quindi il risultato fu invalidato. Lo ricordo benissimo; su un lancio in profondita, mi porto avanti il pallone di tacco destro, evitando l’avversario e faccio un pallonetto che scavalca il portiere in uscita».

Ma non sono soltanto i goal che fanno di un calciatore un mito. Ci sono tante altre cose, compreso l’aspetto umano. Lasciare il segno, dunque, come ha fatto e come sta facendo, sempre con quel qualcosa in piu degli altri, che e privilegio di pochi.

«Non e solo la quantita di reti o di presenze che lascia il segno, queste sono cose importanti e significative, ma non sono le uniche. Si lascia il segno in tanti modi, anche per quello che dai a livello umano. Faccio un esempio; Gianluca Vialli e stato pochi anni in bianconero, ma ha fatto cose eccezionali, ha vissuto un momento esaltante ed e ricordato con grandissimo affetto. I tifosi hanno sempre visto in me il giocatore che non molla; la faccia l’ho sempre messa e questo alla gente piace. Per me, e stata una scelta naturale, molto juventina; io gioco per vincere, per divertirmi e per fare divertire. Senza il sostegno di chi ti vuole bene, tutto ciò non sarebbe possibile. È pesante essere una star in certe occasioni: quando arriva uno all’aeroporto e ti fa il ganascino. O quando sei al ristorante e ti tirano una foto sul piatto per l’autografo dicendo “dai, firma che non e neanche per me”. Poi, viene il giorno in cui capisci che c’e sempre qualcuno piu Del Piero di te: a me e successo quando ho conosciuto Bono. Ero paralizzato dall’emozione, non riuscii neanche a parlargli. Poi siamo diventati amici. Dopo Chelsea-Juve e sceso negli spogliatoi assieme agli U2: Tiago e Molinaro erano impietriti. Se non intervengo io, non gli stringono neppure la mano».

Rimanere attaccato alle proprie origini: «Credo sia rimasto molto del mio essere veneto, nonostante siano tanti anni che vivo a Torino. Noi di Conegliano siamo timidi, concreti, rispettosi, molto lavoratori, abbastanza silenziosi, comunque non ciarlieri; tendiamo a lavorare a testa bassa, guardiamo la terra, sappiamo che il bello della vita salira da lì, e come se lo aspettassimo giorno per giorno, per proteggerlo. Queste caratteristiche mi sono rimaste tutte, credo di essere sempre profondamente veneto. Anzi, di Conegliano».

Come recita il titolo di un suo libro: “Semplicemente Alessandro Del Piero”.



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