Sunday May 13 2012
End of an era

Today Serie A and Susy Campanale wave goodbye to some of the most representative figures of the last 20 years.

One can’t help but feel this is a watershed moment in Italian football. How fitting that on the same day we should lose stars like Alessandro Del Piero, Pippo Inzaghi, Marco Di Vaio, Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf, Ivan Cordoba, Gianluca Zambrotta and Kakha Kaladze. These are the players many of us grew up watching. Their exit is a reminder of how much time has passed for us all. Il tempo passa...

I fondly recall watching Juventus fight back from 2-0 down to beat Fiorentina 3-2 in 1994 with what remains the greatest goal Del Piero has ever scored. Long ball over the top, he let it go past his shoulder between two defenders and volleyed with the outside of the boot to curl into the top corner. Majestic. “This kid is good,” we all grinned at the television. That was the exact time Juve realised they could afford to let Roberto Baggio go. Maybe Sebastian Giovinco’s wonder strike for Parma last week was the mirror to that moment. Alex leaves on a high and can now teach a new generation in America just how special football can be.

Nesta and Di Vaio are also heading to the MLS, which has become a sort of retirement village for calcio stars who don’t feel ready for a desk job just yet. They will join the likes of Bernardo Corradi and Matteo Ferrari out there in North America. Gattuso’s destination is not yet known, but a return to Glasgow Rangers would indeed be special. He always was a generous soul and to help their rebirth would be typical of Rino. Kaladze hangs up his boots to go into the world of politics, bringing freedom to his native Georgia.

There will be emotional scenes at San Siro and the Juventus Stadium this afternoon. Tears are to be shed throughout the land – even the world – as the stars of our youth say goodbye. I still see the images of when they first appeared on the scene. Nesta before he learned to straighten his hair, Gattuso stomping around clean-shaven like a stroppy toddler, Zambrotta a winger in a Bari jersey and Seedorf with his flailing dreadlocks. The older you get, the faster time seems to move.

Many of them will return to Serie A as Coaches, I am sure of that, but I can’t help feeling they are needed right now. New defenders in particular are hard to come by in Italy and badly require teachers like Nesta.

Arrigo Sacchi and Baggio were put in charge of youth development in the Italian Federation, but imagine an academy of football excellence with classes on defending run by Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini. Gattuso can drive the desire to win at all times, even in a meaningless friendly, into them from an early age. Inzaghi can be professor of being at the right place at the right time, although he might need his own lessons on how to avoid the offside trap. And Del Piero should be their headmaster, an example of how to command respect and admiration from colleagues and opponents alike. Alex leaves Juventus setting that example to the next generation – dignity and class.

Arrivederci, ragazzi

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Have your say...
Nicely put Susy. I too have a very deep sense of the passage of time ... where did all those years go?

Grande Alex! Non ti dimenticheremo mai. Grazie.
on the 21st May, 2012 at 11:11am
Alex Del Piero proved ot be vital even in his age.
It would be awesome if Prandelli calls him last second.
on the 17th May, 2012 at 12:20am
I am not a Juve fan but I am very sad to see ADP leaving Serie A. The guy is just class! From day one he has been a gentleman and an amazing team player and what a wonderful way to go! Good luck in USA, their gain is our loss.
on the 15th May, 2012 at 7:43am
Alex Del Piero has been all class throughout his Juventus career. He could of been a coach killer, like Totti in Roma, but he always put the team first and why Juventus are champions once again.

My eyes teared up as I watched my hero saluted for the last time at home by the Juve fatefull. Grazie Del Piero,arguably the greatest player to wear the black and white, no question the classiest.
on the 14th May, 2012 at 2:33pm
ADP will be sorely missed in an era where there are few sporting gentlemen.He recently wished Nesta,Inzaghi et al the best fof the future"I never looked at them as enemies just opponents"Class all the way. Forza ADP,Nesta Inzaghi,Gattuso,Cordoba and Forza JUVE!!!!
on the 14th May, 2012 at 1:43pm
As sad as it is to see these greats go, the farewell the fans gave them is truly sweet and heartening. It is a very proud moment for Italian football -- nowhere else would fans honor their players like this. Now the fans and legends can go on.
on the 14th May, 2012 at 12:54pm
What a way to go. Unbelievably emotional. Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better.Grazie per tutti Ale, a real hero in a world of shallow pretenders.
on the 14th May, 2012 at 10:41am
A sad day for football lovers everywhere. They're all great players who have set an example both on and off the pitch. Being a Juve fan I'm obviously sad that ADP is leaving but this has been a fit and proper ending to a legend. Seeing the team back where it belongs and leaving on such a positive note. Hopefully we'll see you with Juve again soon.

As for rest all great players who will be sourly missed
on the 14th May, 2012 at 10:09am
Alessandro Del Piero, what a legend.
Its a sad, sad day to see our Captain play his last game for us.He was the reason that i started loving Juve, I'll never forget the goal he scored in CL final against B Dortmund, the backheel flick, the only good note out of that final. All Milan players will b missed too, they given so much to us and Serie A.

on the 14th May, 2012 at 1:40am
It aches me to see ADP leaving this guy is a true legend not lesser than zidane maradona and pele. As a juve fan this day has been marred by the confirmation of del piero's exit i was hoping until the last moment this guy would receive an extension but angelli shot all the hopes i got eventually. As for MIlan legends it is also hard to imagine calcio without nesta seedorf gattuso one of my favourites as well as pippo leaves FORZA JUVE FORZA ALEX AND FORZA CALCIO
on the 13th May, 2012 at 11:40pm
Legends leave the game today..None more so then Del Piero, sad to see him go..Legend, icon, gentlemen and truly loyal, exemplified the spirit of Juve..Forever a legend that won't be matched, has been my inspiration since I was a young boy, won't be the same watching my beloved Juve without him..Would love to see him come back a coach someday like Conte..Grazie Ale, for everything you have given and accomplished.,.
on the 13th May, 2012 at 10:41pm
on the 13th May, 2012 at 10:27pm
Certainly an end of an era for Calcio. ADP has been the shining example of professionalism in the game for the last two decades.

Nesta, Gattuso, Zambrotta and Seedorf have also been great champions and fantastic opponents over the years, Di Vaio also deserves a mention. and a new dawn is certainly on the horizon..

Grazie grande giocatori e campioni d' will all be missed.

Lets see what new 'Sangue Azzuro' comes through..starting at Euro 2012..Fora Italia :)
on the 13th May, 2012 at 8:02pm
Alessandro Del Piero.............simply the best!!! Thank you for enriching my football life! I wish you could stay at Juve for ever, where ever you i shall support you! Words cannot convey how great i think you are! A generation in Italian football comes to an end. Players like Inzaghi, Gattuso, Seedorf, Nesta, Cordoba and Di Vaio, i grew up watching all of these guys play. Incredible longevity in their careers too which is a testament to their quality.
on the 13th May, 2012 at 7:47pm
as an inter fan i have to say im glad to see the back of him...i have spent countless hours shouting and calling him in front of my tv for ruining my evening when he scores against my beloved inter..(how dare he)...good player(thats all i'll admit to) glad to see the back of him..hahah
on the 13th May, 2012 at 6:21pm
Alessandro Del Piero, a true legend, the best example for 20 years in the Italian League. His technical ability, skill, great spirit and loyalty he showed, was a legacy of Del Piero for the Lega Calcio. Good-bye, Il Capitano, we will never forget you, Il Pinturicchio.
For Nesta, Pippo Inzaghi, Seedorf, Rhino Gattuso ... bye great players who have graced the beauty of the Italian League. CIAO ...
on the 13th May, 2012 at 6:09pm
All these legends will be sadly missed by all calcio fans especially Super Pippo, Gattuso, Nesta, Zamprotta, Seedorf and all the rest. Thx for the great memories you will forever live in my heart!
on the 13th May, 2012 at 6:05pm
Impossible not to feel sadness at all these players who symbolise the last decade and more. For me I will particuarly miss Seedorf and Inzaghi. I've enjoyed watching them play so often in that beautiful Milan team that has ended now.

Hopefully new players will come through soon with character, passion and quality deserving of our love.
on the 13th May, 2012 at 5:54pm
Alex you were the reason I love football good luck and thanks again what a fantastic ending to a great player at a great club
on the 13th May, 2012 at 5:50pm
For me this perhaps the saddest day in years.
Firstly my favorite player of all time, Il Capitano, plays his last match on hometurf, which happens to coincide with the day my favorite metal guitarist died.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I HAVE cried.
It was beautiful to see Alex sent off in a proper manner, and gloriously wonderful to see him lift the scudetto once again. A sight that will forever stay with me.

Forza il Capitano!

From Denmark with love
on the 13th May, 2012 at 5:49pm
Sad to see all the heroes from 2006 coming to the end of their careers. I'll miss Gatusso in particular, his bulldog style in midfield was always great to watch. At least Pirlo and Buffon will still be around for another season or two.
on the 13th May, 2012 at 5:16pm
End of an amazing era in italian football. To lose what seems to be everyone in one weekend is truely an upsetting day for us all. This is also is the time that we will all see the true state of italian football as we lose our greats!
on the 13th May, 2012 at 5:09pm
Today I salute legends of the game, thanks for the memories, especially nostro Capitano Del Piero

on the 13th May, 2012 at 4:56pm
A very sad day, too many Champions leaving on the same day is a bit much to stomach.
on the 13th May, 2012 at 4:52pm
As much as I hate to see ADP to leave, I rather see him leave on a high note. The way Maldini left was disapointing.

Respect to ADP, Pipo, Nesta, Zambrotta, Seedorf, Cordoba, Kaladze, Zanetti and co... Thank you all for the fantastic footballing memories.
on the 13th May, 2012 at 4:27pm
one of best by Susy...
no words left... only tears...
last para set me in land of beautiful imaginations...
on the 13th May, 2012 at 3:48pm
Nesta, Del piero, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Zambrotta all were some of my favorite players growing up.....still are. Absolutely class and will be sorely missed!

on the 13th May, 2012 at 3:38pm

Were talking about a.d.p,inzaghi, seedorf and gattuso here Cordoba is not even close to that quality
on the 13th May, 2012 at 3:25pm
Today is a sad day for many of us who watch this legends play im going to miss reading and watching alex score thoses 30 yard freekicks
on the 13th May, 2012 at 3:18pm
Excellent farewell. This day will be a huge marker of when the greats handed the batton on to the next generation. It's a sad time to see such heavy weights hang up their boots but an important time to give recognition to what is coming through and to nourish this potential. Nesta, Del Piero and Co. will be sorely missed and they showed us the full potential of what football has to offer. Here is the time for those with hearts of champions to step up.
on the 13th May, 2012 at 3:11pm

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