Tuesday April 10 2012
Retire Del Piero’s No 10

Juventus may not be prepared to offer Alex Del Piero a new contract, but, as Dave Taylor argues, they should at least retire his shirt.

“Next season the No 10 shirt at Juventus will likely be free and it is a number that I like,” claimed Parma forward Sebastian Giovinco recently. The starlet, currently co-owned with the Old Lady, further admitted he enjoys the idea of replacing Alessandro Del Piero in Turin. That may be a dream for him, but it should be a nightmare for the rest of us.

The Juventus No 10 is not just a shirt. After personally watching the great and the good of Liam Brady, Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio and, arguably the most celebrated of them all, Pinturicchio himself in that skin, the jersey should be retired when he leaves this summer.

Taking a shirt out of circulation as a dedication to a club legend is nothing new in Italy. Napoli retired Diego Maradona’s magic 10 as did Milan with Paolo Maldini's No 3 and Franco Baresi's No 6, while Inter withdrew Giacinto Facchetti's famous No 3. 

Yet it is not a Juve tradition. In 2005 there were strenuous calls for Gaetano Scirea’s No 6 jersey to be retired, but despite the demand being backed by former Azzurri Coach Enzo Bearzot, who not only wanted his domestic shirt retired but his international version as well, they were ignored. The 1982 World Cup winning boss rightly felt that the retiring of glorious shirt numbers should be a ritual so they have the right not to be worn by others.

Like Del Piero, Scirea was an unrivalled champion both on and off the field who sadly died while working for Juve as a scout in 1989. In recent history his shirt has been worn by players like Dimas Teixeira, Sunday Oliseh, Thierry Henry, Fabian O’Neill, Robert Kovac, Salvatore Fresi and the calamitous Fabio Grosso, who were, putting it bluntly, not fit to lace his boots.

If the above are not perfect examples of players unable to live up to a previous owner's shirt number, I don't know what is. It was too big a weight on their puny shoulders and it would surely have been better to keep the jersey locked away to protect the phenomenal institution that is Il Capitano’s legacy.

Many modern day fans feel the same way about Del Piero. Like Scirea his boots will undoubtedly be extremely difficult to fill, even impossible, and consequently if not retired there will be some who will sully the memory of this fabulous shirt and what Alex has achieved in it.

If they can't retire it, then at the very least they should take it out of circulation for a few years until there is somebody who could do the shirt the same justice as previous owners. And despite Giovinco's progress this season, he is hardly the chimerical visionary that Del Piero was at his age.

Of course some could feel that it is only a shirt and no-one is bigger than the club. They may also suggest that if a player dreams about becoming the new Del Piero, let him and give him a chance of actually realising it.

The problem, however, are that the skills, elegance, leadership and dedication that Del Piero brought to the shirt are not so easily repeated and any future owner needs to earn the right and not just be given it.

Alessandro set a massively high standard for that shirt. It is not any old number, it is a number worn by real legends, historical great players who made the difference. The only player who deserves it more than Alessandro is Del Piero himself – in eternity.

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Have your say...
Dont retire ADP!

Give him another year and make Giovinco WORK for it!
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:26pm
As a matter of fact, I started supporting Juve cos of Del Piero so if our Captain is leaving at the end of the season, I donot think I am under any obligation to continue to be Juventino. Its so bad the way Juventus treats her own legend- Trezeguet, Camoranesi, it was only Nedved that was allowed to retire voluntarily.Alex more than deserves a blank contract with Old Lady. He stuck wit the club at the prime of his career, now the club wants to force him out. Beware Buffon cos it may happen to u
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:15pm
Retiring a number is always a great way of showing a player how much he has meant to a club. But for Juve fans everywhere, Del Piero is more than just a number. If he is to be honoured by the club it should be something unique to show everyone that to us, Del Piero is not just like any other clubs' legends (and they can start by giving him a contract that allows him to stay at the club for as long as he likes).
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:14pm
As much as I like the idea of retiring shirts for club legends it raises some interesting questions.
At my club Liverpool we could have easily retired the number 9 when Ian Rush left, as all-time top scorer, however, look what Robbie Fowler brought to that iconic shirt in the years that followed! Luckly their careers dovetailed somewhat so that he had a couple of years to confirm his obvious talent, but to not give him the chance to wear such an iconic shirt would have been wrong.
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:13pm
Only Messi is fit to wear the number 10 shirt when Ale leaves. Since that will never happened, it's time to retire it. He leaves as the all time greastest Juventus player. Giovinco should learn some class first.
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:13pm
He is Mr Juventus plain and simple. After Platini and now Del Piero wearing No.10 it should be retired until another legend comes along and proves themself in the future but a legend of that calibre only appears every 30 odd years. The No.10 should be a target for Juventus players and never just given.

However I still think considering that we have Champions League football to deal with next season, there is still a place for Del Piero and should be kept on for a minimum of another season!
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:12pm
This is a childish request! Del Piero is a legend, and his work on and of the pitch will never be forgotten by anyone, not just Juventini..

Juve doesn't have to retire his shirt to give him the respect that he deserves, but can offer him a new contract instead, since he is on a very good form, and much useful than the current Vucinic and Borriello combined.

As for saying no one could fulfill no6 shirt, that's because most of them were below average players, except Henry which was Juve's fault
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:07pm
Take it out of circulation, but don't retire it. Number ten is too big, too symbolic. ADP has worn it since 1995, when he took it off Baggio, but he had to earn that. It belongs to Baggio, Platini et al just as much as it does to ADP. I'm not opposed to Giovinco having it, but I'd rather he didn't get it just yet. I'm sure 10 was worn by worse, even if not in my time. I wanted (not very symbolic) 21 to be retired after Zidane, but now Pirlo has come along...
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:05pm
Nice idea about holding the number in protective storage until someone proves themselves worthy enough to wear it in the future. Difficult to implement though- who's to say that one amazing season by a player wouldn't be a flash in the pan and if the player was then assigned the jersey for the following season, the weight of expectation might be too much. I'm against number retirements - look at Daniele De Rossi - has to wear 16 since 6 is retired.I think Aldair wouldn't mind De Rossi wearing it
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:02pm
I couldn't disagree more. Del Piero has achieved little in his career and will not go down as an Italian great of the future. Giovinco probably has a better chance of retiring the number 10 shirt in the future...

In contrast, Inzaghi is the most important Italian footballer of the past 50 years and certainly deserves his famous number 9 shirt to be retired for eternity to symbolise the huge impact the great man has had on the world.

Forza Inzaghi.
on the 10th April, 2012 at 4:02pm
Agreed.. giovinco doesn't have the right attitude to wear no 10. He often criticizes juve. That's something that del piero never did.. even when he was treated badly under capello. Juve should learn from their mistake giving no 11 to amauri. Many juventini were against it, and it's proven correct.
on the 10th April, 2012 at 3:59pm
Absolute Legend, retire the shirt in his honour or renew his contract. Should not be allowed to leave
on the 10th April, 2012 at 3:57pm
Absolute Legend, shirt should be retired in his honour
on the 10th April, 2012 at 3:56pm
It is possible to retire shirts and im all for it, but then where do you draw the line? Retire Buffons next? they could have retired Nedveds, soon you run out of important numbers Milan should have retired Pirlo's
on the 10th April, 2012 at 3:52pm

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