Alessandro Del Piero: His Legacy, Our History

Posted on 01/11/2010

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Seventeen years ago a sixteen year old boy, taken to Turin’s Stadio Delle Alpi as a birthday gift saw a young striker score on his home debut in a game against Reggiana. All the boy could talk about on his way home was the fact he’d seen Roberto Baggio score in the flesh & that Juventus had won 4-0. His father turned to him & said “That last goal was nice, need to keep an eye on that kid”.
Much has changed since that day, Roberto Baggio moved on long ago, the two youngsters are now well into their thirties, both lost their fathers soon into the new millennium, the stadium that united the three men in late 1993 no longer stands.
But some things remain constant; the fathers advice went well heeded, the son has watched the young goal scorer mature. Seven Scudetti, a Champions League win, a crippling injury, a World Cup win & the agony of relegation have all followed, a special bond born that September afternoon has enjoyed & endured many highs & lows. The young striker has become a talismanic captain, a household name across the world.
Since that debut strike Alessandro Del Piero has become an icon of Juventus, playing more times & scoring more goals for the club than any other player in history. He has broken every record & then continued to raise the bar higher & higher seemingly every time he sets foot on the field.
Saturday evening at Milan’s San Siro brought the latest instalment in that entwined story. Already leading 1-0 against all the odds, Momo Sissoko stumbled into the opposition penalty area, the ball almost an after thought. A defender struggling to deal with the midfielders unorthodox style, Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal unsure whether to come for the ball or stand his ground.
Enter Del Piero. Calm, cool, collected, rifling a hot past the stranded goalkeeper. Once given the nickname “Pinturiccio” by the late Gianni Agnelli, the apprentice is now an undoubted master of his craft. Serie A goal number 179, another day, another record, the latest chapter in what has become an almost relentless march to greatness.
To witness such a career is an honour, to see that quiet unassuming substitute mature into a legend has shaped my love for the game, the club & to watch records tumble one after the other shows we truly are witnessing greatness. Through it all he has shown dignity & class, saying he is just a fan, “a part of the great Juventus flag”.
To count him as one of us is the real privilege for Juventus fans, for me, seeing Alesandro Del Piero’s legacy writ large in Juventus history takes me back to that late summer afternoon. Grazie Capitano.
Adam Digby writes the Il Tifosi blog & is a regular contributor at Beyond The Pitch
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