Thursday April 19 2012
Del Piero vs. Totti – one last battle

Juventus entertain Roma this weekend. Dave Taylor writes on the last possible meeting between Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti.

Back in the late 1990s, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero were chatting after an exam at a remedial school for college drop outs. “How did it go?” Totti asked the Juventus ace. “Not so well, Francesco, I handed in a blank sheet,” said  Del Piero. “You too?” replied the Roma captain. “Now they’re going to say I copied.”

That was a well known joke, but, in real life, it could be said that he and Del Piero have mirrored each other throughout their careers. One makes his debut, the other makes his debut, one becomes the Capocannoniere and so does the other, one scores 200 goals and the other scores, well, you know what I mean.

For instance in Week 32, four minutes after Del Piero scored a crucial second goal for Juve with one of his cracking free-kicks, down in Rome his friend scored the Giallorossi's second, typically by being in the right place at the right time. Just another example of the way the veterans' careers have seemingly corresponded since making their Serie A debuts in the same year, Francesco in March 1993, while Del Piero, six months later in September. 

Del Piero currently stands on 207 goals in 509 League appearances [Serie A and B], while from 496 games played, Totti has scored 212 goals. Once again not dissimilar stats.

The pair of jokers meet up for what could be the last time this weekend as two of the world's most outstanding No 10s share the same pitch, and neither will want to miss the occasion. Certainly the riveting sub plot of the duel between the only two true flag bearers, of a generation brought up on fantasisti, has caught the public’s attention.

Coincidentally it was almost a year ago to the day that a similar situation arose, I even wrote a blog on it but they never met. Unfortunately Alessandro picked up an injury and only Totti played, as Juve ran out 2-0 winners.

This weekend neither is injured, but again whether Del Piero starts the game is debatable. One of the few differences between them, at least this season, has been that Francesco has started 21 games and scored five goals, while Del Piero has started just three matches, scoring twice.

But it's the similarities between them that stand out and none more emphatic than the examples they have set to youngsters with their passion, skill and above all singular devotion to the shirt, a loyalty far and beyond the normal call of duty. 

Other affiliations include both winning World Cup medals, both wearing the Azzurri No 10 shirt, with Alessandro selflessly giving the celebrated jersey to Totti and switching to the No 7. Both have won League titles, both have won countless other trophies and personal awards and both are their respective clubs' record appearance holders and goalscorers. For anyone else to come close to these outstanding records will be like making melanzane alla parmigiana without cheese and a frying pan, impossible.

Sadly, for football fans there is one more important difference, the way Juve and Roma have treated their respective bandieri. Roma rewarded Totti  with a long contract with improved wages. Yet Juventus treat their own devoted flag-bearer shabbily and in comparison to Roma's handling of Totti, downright disrespectfully. 

Yet all these statistics, similarities and friendships will matter not one iota when the two meet for what should be a great game. Both will have one thought and one thought only in their respective minds, to win for the shirt.

Have your say...
ADP has a better talent than Totti, injury in 1998 prevent his grow up. Of course totti is also a good player
on the 22nd February, 2013 at 12:49pm
To be honest I think the situation is a little unfair to Totti. Del Piero may be battling against stronger opponents in a higher level, but he is supported by some of the best talents in the world in one of the greatest clubs in history. Totti on the other hand, has always been "The Man" in Roma, having to lead them through highs and lows. Imagine Totti playing at Juventus and Del Piero playing at Roma, will the situation be a little different?

Anyways, hats off to the two legends.
on the 2nd June, 2012 at 2:03pm
Both are great players, and they cannot be compared directly. Totti plays as a traditional trequartista, dictating the rhythm of Roma. Del Piero, on the other hand, relies more on creative dribbling and exceptional shooting skills.

If they were both hitting top form, I would prefer Totti over Del Piero because IMO his skills are slightly better, but we all know that Del Piero has a much better form than Totti.
on the 2nd June, 2012 at 1:58pm
gonna miss ADP....but i am definitely gonna CRY when my hero TOTTI 10 decides to Retire.....FORZA ROMA
on the 25th May, 2012 at 7:05am
Hello all, I have been a juventus and a delpiero fan since 1994 and I am disappointed in the way juventus board are treating the legend ADP. He stuck with them through thick and thin. I was over joyed to see him and Totti win the world cup. (Maldini fell unlucky) lol. However delpiero has had to face stronger obstacles than totti as he won more leagues and cups than him and also been playing with the likes of zidane and other great players. Forza juventus!!!
on the 22nd April, 2012 at 5:37pm
Best article I'v read here.

Totti and Piero are true legends. Ther is no piont in bittering over who is better in what asepct. I am from China and I have been supporting Roma for more than a decade. But for me Totti and Piero are beyond Roma and Juventus. They are Italian legends. I remember the night when I cheered on them in the world cup final, they make me feel like I am an ITALIAN, and I am pround of that.

Watching them play on the pitch is a privilege one should not take for granted.
on the 22nd April, 2012 at 4:57am
A great article and many nice comments! Francesco and ADP are true legends. There is not point in arguing who is the best in what aspect. I am from China, and have been supporting Roma for more than a decade. But Francesco and ADP are beyond Roma and Juventus. For me they are Italian legends. I remember the night when I cheered them in the World Cup final in a crowed pub in Beijing. They make me feel like I am an ITALIAN, and I am pround of that.
on the 22nd April, 2012 at 4:42am
i wonder if the club raul is supposdely headed for in quatar will want ADP to partner him. What a strikeforce that would be.. 2 of the top 5 greatest strikers of the champs.lge era!
on the 21st April, 2012 at 4:28pm
excuse me, totti was incorrectly sent off in the past. was top goal scorer in europe and still didnt make the top 50 best players in the world. totti had many chances to leave for more money and never did. he was chased by milan as a junior and stayed. they both are loyal to their clubs. both these players are underated. true legends.
on the 21st April, 2012 at 4:14am
let get some specifics here. lets talk real for a second. about each players movements. patterns of their runs and how they handle and play and the ball. their movements on the ball and their movements off the ball. how they play in terms of team and game awareness. the great things about these posts are that most of these posts come from FANS. they don't care, its all about their favorite team and player they follow. not hard playing details related to the game and the player. the qualities.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 6:18pm
@NIC. Watch what u say. I an absolutely disgusted and personally offended by your statements that can only be described as ill-informed, factually incorrect, ridiculous and above all else just plain stupid.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 5:17pm
Great article! and spot on about agnelli juniors disgraceful treatment of ADP. Infact the entire juve board should also be included. Agnelli junior needs to learn about the words loyalty and respect, because he seems to be lacking in both. And who better to teach him than ADP. Lets hope ADP does a 'raul' and contributes heavily to other football clubs for the next 3-4 years before returning as a senior director to a club who saw the light and replaced the joke heir of the agnelli empire.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 5:05pm
So, according to NIC, Fiorentina, Bologna, and Brescia didn't want to keep Baggio! The likes of Trap, Lippi, and Capello, despite being successful always played with a pragmatic style of play. You speak of tactics NIC, and that is THE big problem in Italy. Many coaches, when Baggio played, would shackle their flair players, pinning them to one sector on the pitch. When you coach a player like Baggio, you should just give them the freedom to express themselves, like Guardiola does with Messi.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 4:22pm
@vince. lol. totti paid the youth! probably made up 1/100000 of his weekly wages. His wage demands didnt exactly help roma's financial situation. Don't wanna bash totti, cos i dig the guy, but if roma got relegated, and he was only 32 years old he would've walked away. no doubt about it...
on the 20th April, 2012 at 3:51pm
most of what has been said here is excellent but totti greedy ! a few years ago under the sensi family and money was very tight francesco paid the wages for the roma youth team out of his own pocket . . . maybe not so greedy eh
on the 20th April, 2012 at 2:39pm
dave, why are these people claiming roby is more superior then francesco?! roby was a tactical misfit. no coach or club ever wanted to keep him so roby was just thrown around his whole career (7 clubs). roby only wanted to do what roby wanted to do. roby never fit into the team set up. roby was weak tactically. francesco is a more complete player who has a different playing style. francesco would press, would chase and would challenge for the ball. strong in the air. roby never defended. credit.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 2:25pm
Both great players and a joy to watch on their day...however Baggio was a joy to watch every single day. Congratulations on 2 fantastic careers though.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 1:29pm
Both these two are fantastic players! Ability wise, it is very difficult to separate them. When it comes to personal class, Del Piero is leagues ahead. I've never seen him spit, kick an opponent or receive obscene wages from his club, when they were having financial problems. As good as these two are, for me, they don't come close to Baggio. Baggio had so many obstacles in his path and yet produced so many miraculous moments. I rated him higher than Messi-he was more complete, in my opinion.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 9:46am
2 great italian players but they have nothing on baggio he didnt win a world cup but hpw he played for italy these 2 put together dont come close even if they won the world cup.but never the less 2 great italian legends and im sad to say theres nothing i see coming through italian players are no where at the moment we have nothing compared to other nations like messi or ronaldo, balotelli is a head case and the rest please no more cannavaros or maldinis theres only 2 left thats pirlo and buffon
on the 20th April, 2012 at 9:42am
we're gonna miss Alex on the pitch, especially Serie A, both of them are the best player. I really disappointed with agnelli's family.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 9:39am
I was as outraged as anyone when Agnelli made that announcment, it did feel cold at the time.

having heard more and more comments from the two you can easily read between the lines (read Alex's Vanity fair interview)he says he can't see out his final days as a bit part player, even at Juve and i now beleive that he made this decision himself last summer, guessing he'd have limited starts.

Agnelli's mistake was thinking it was common knowledge.
Alex's book "lets carry on playing"
on the 20th April, 2012 at 9:21am
Fantastic Article

Both are italian legends and flagbearers no doubt but i must agree with Ludwig. I respect Del Piero far more as a man, he would play for Juventus for free while Totti at times has been exceptionally greedy and at times dirty on the pitch.,,

on the 20th April, 2012 at 8:29am
Del Piero wins it for me over Totti every time. Staying with Juve in Serie B, being humble and well-respected on the field, not being greedy when it comes to wage demands, competing with the likes of Baggio, Inzaghi, Ibra, Trezeguet for a place in starting 11. Agnelli should be ASHAMED for treating Alex with such disrespect!!! What a clown!! Will never respect Agnelli after this.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 8:26am
Thx David for a wonderful article regarding two excquisit players. I remember a few games in which both ADP and totti played together (with Italy) and were on form, and what a SPECTACLE it was. I dont remember which Italy game, but i recall one long vertical cross from Totti to ADP who immediately scored.
I will miss those 2 but I will miss more ADP. I grew up with del piero posters on my wall which I keep to this day (weird i know). So many games of ADP that inspires me with Juve or Italy!!!!!!
on the 20th April, 2012 at 7:32am
Del Piero or Totti were no Roberto Baggio! Robby was in a league of his own.

Just needed to point that out. I would take them both to euro's, let be honest, we have nothing else. I would rather see them there than Matri or Pazzini.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 7:27am
@Boss: you are very funny, as your arguments contradict your conclusion.
For DP it was of course EASIER to excell than for Totti as Ale' had always had world class players around him to help his aid, NOT the other way around as you incorrectly say. You think Totti or DP could excell so much in a team like Siena?
Totti had to do it all alone, DP had a great team which helped him.
Respect to both nonetheless!
on the 20th April, 2012 at 7:10am
Great Article.. Thanks a lot for reminding once again about the true champions!!!
I really hope that something will change in the mindset of Juve owners and Del Piero will stay..
All true Juve supporters would love to know that he is there, even on the bench!!!
on the 20th April, 2012 at 6:16am
Baggio did more for Italy than both put together. I've never seen either of these two beat two men in a row let alone half a team. They could pass and shoot, but neither could dribble... And Dave, you complain about no new ones coming through, how can they if the club still insists with a 37 year old in the number 10 shirt who is way past his best. His contract and time and ability to play a pivotal role at a club of juventus stature are up.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 6:12am
Great article, one of the best in the last few months. Reading these comments I see that there are still fans who appreciate the two legends and who had not fallen under the influence of modern day football stars which pleases me BUT I must reply something to this Ludwig guy: I think it's rather unfair to ASSUME that Del Piero would play for Juve for free while Totti would not do the same for Roma!? The love our Il Capitano has for the club is unquestionable and has nothing to do with money.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 5:49am
"but the difference between these two 'flag-bearers' is that del piero would play for juve for free..."

Actually Totti played for free for a moment. He singlehanded saved Roma from dropping to Serie C but not getting paid for 6 months.

Thats the reason why Totti is bigger than God in Rome.
on the 20th April, 2012 at 5:16am

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