Wednesday May 23 2012
Goodbye Mr Juventus

Alessandro Del Piero has played his last match for Juventus. Luca Cetta salutes the outgoing legend.

“You’ve made my dream come true. More than anything, today I just want to say thank you.” This was Alessandro Del Piero’s message to his fans just over a week ago, shortly after raising the Serie A trophy at the Juventus Stadium. It was a fitting finale to his glittering Serie A career.

Del Piero leaves Juventus after 19 years. He made his debut on September 12, 1993, and left the field for the final time on Sunday, May 20, 2012 – 705 appearances and 289 goals later. Calciopoli notwithstanding, Pinturicchio won the Scudetto on eight occasions to equal the all-time record, also conquering Europe and then the world with club and country. A set-piece master, Del Piero netted 42 free-kicks for the Old Lady. Yet the legacy he leaves in Turin cannot be expressed simply in numbers and trophies. Just as the special patch worn during the Coppa Italia Final stated, the relationship between club and player was simply ‘one love’.

That love was tested in 2006 in a way no past Bianconero legend had to encounter. When the shadow of Serie B loomed Del Piero responded with a phrase to go down in club folklore alongside Giampiero Boniperti’s “at Juventus, winning isn’t important, it’s the only thing that matters.” When the Conegliano native uttered “a true gentleman never leaves his lady” it cemented his unique place in Juventus history.

Dignified by his class off the field, he was held in high esteem for performances on it. When Ronaldo was given the ‘Phenomenon’ nickname at Inter, Juventini replied in kind by dubbing Del Piero the ‘Real Phenomenon’. This came during his most successful season, when Alex netted 21 goals and led Juve to the Scudetto and Champions League Final – a competition he ended as leading scorer. Even before that memorable campaign Del Piero was busy astonishing the football world.

Pinturicchio aided the Primavera team to the 1994 Viareggio Cup and 1993-94 championship and also made his senior debut that campaign. From goal No 1 versus Reggiana to downing Parma with a hat-trick, the youngster showed great promise but announced himself the following season. There he netted memorable goals against Napoli – the first from the ‘Del Piero zone’ – Fiorentina and Lazio along the path to Scudetto glory. His burgeoning talent sent him on course to becoming one of the world’s best and was part of the reason Roberto Baggio left for Milan.

Del Piero picked himself up after relegation to become Serie B and Serie A Capocannoniere in consecutive seasons, matching Paolo Rossi. His display at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in 2008 caused a rare standing ovation from the Real Madrid faithful. Even when Juve struggled post-calciopoli they could turn to their inspirational leader.

At 37 he continued to prove decisive for the Bianconeri – his free-kick against Lazio steering Juventus a step closer to that elusive Scudetto. And when he finally departed his Turin home he did so to adulation and a show of emotion reserved only for the true greats. He also left a winner, finally able to revel in a long-awaited championship.

Del Piero not only had to help Juve overcome their demons, but his own. The devastating injury suffered in 1998 strengthened his resolve and the heartache of the Euro 2000 Final in Rotterdam was erased by the joy of Dortmund and Berlin six years later.

An inspiration to a generation of Juve fans, Del Piero is to the latest breed of black and white what John Charles, Boniperti, Gaetano Scirea, Michel Platini and Baggio were to theirs. Fans will have another icon to admire in the future and while there cannot be another Alessandro Del Piero, he shall forever be fondly remembered as the true gentleman who always loved his lady.

Have your say...
you are the reason i became a juventus die hard fans. trully inspiring person. you will never be replace by anyone. for me you are the greatest of all time. "a true gentlemen never leaves his lady" i will keep that in mind.
the only player that had 3 standing ovation outside juve stadium (old trafford, santiago barnebeu,olimpico rome).

grazie alex.. hope to see soon in juventus stadium in a different role
on the 23rd October, 2012 at 4:56pm
Número UNO!
on the 27th May, 2012 at 9:33pm
Than you very much ALEX, DELPIERO, I will always remember you as juve, fun, 1995 its first time I watched calcio, I was in somalia at that times and I was young somalian boy, but DELPIERO and ZINADIN ZIDAN I will never forgott you, It's hard to believe that I won't see you againg. Dep Piero is and always will remain my favourite player of all time. In a game where people have no loyalty or class Del Piero, anyway all the world will miss you, again thank you delpiero

BY: Liban A. Geddi
on the 25th May, 2012 at 6:49pm
Thank you for everything Alex...I still have tears in my eyes after that memorable farewell at the stadium...You will be missed
on the 25th May, 2012 at 12:11pm
The True Master....! Last of the dying breed....!
on the 25th May, 2012 at 9:08am
Alessandro Del Piero, what a player you've been for the Juventni!! So many goals! So many have been critical and so many have been special! The amount of times you've had me cheering will never be forgotten! I especially like it when you score freekicks against the big teams! Such Europhia!!
I started following Juve in 1994 after the World Cup as I was very interested in watching Baggio play, but then my attentions turned to Ale! and I've watched you blossom as a player and man ever since...
on the 25th May, 2012 at 8:58am
As a life long Milan fan, I remember the young ADP joining Juve. Even though he played for our fierce rivals, I and everybody else, gotta respect him. For his goals, his play, his attitude and his leadership.

A true gentleman, a true captain, a worthy opponent but never an enemy.
on the 25th May, 2012 at 7:50am
I watched the match against atlanta alone. When Alex was substituted, I joined in d standing ovation. A true legend, we'll never 4get u!
on the 24th May, 2012 at 3:18pm
The only piece of Juventus heritage that I can stand and adore. Alex has been a great example for many people as a man, sportsman, and a human being. Humble and friendly and above all fair. As Milanisti you were always the leaf of friendship in a hostile Juventus clan. Thanks for all and all the best for future. Grande Ale, Forza Milan!
on the 24th May, 2012 at 10:37am
Great articel, Well Done.... Sallute the One and Only Alex Del Piero ..His Name will be written in every Juventino's heart young and old. We will miss the no 10, the honesty and great character. All Black and white Loves Ali and look forward to see him back at the Juve Stadium where he belongs, but this time looking smart with a black and white Tie.
All the best ..Capitano, for us you will remain... The One and Only
on the 24th May, 2012 at 8:26am
i was always afraid of that day !! can't imagine Juve without Alex ... i am officially a loyal fan of the team Alex will join !
on the 24th May, 2012 at 7:40am
I do not want to say good bye to you, our beloved captain. As for me you never leave us, since you always stay in our deepest hearts, Forever... We Love You so much, CAPTAIN, Forza Alex!
on the 24th May, 2012 at 3:39am
10 minutes STANDING OVATION said it all

Thx Alex , You'll be greatly missed !

on the 23rd May, 2012 at 10:06pm
A class act on and off the field. While in Toronto last year during the Juventus North American tour, he was one of the last players out signing autographes. His number 10 autograph jersey is proudly hung at my place.

I don't think their will be another player who i can chear for with as much emotion. Grazie Alex.
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 9:51pm
TFC is waiting.....
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 7:01pm
Grazie Alex...... I started to follow calcio, because of Baggio. I fell in love with Juve because of Alex...Soon there will be another star that we will adore,grace the banners at the new stadium. He will be compared to Alex, like in all sports in every country, but it is unfair to both players...Ciao Capitano
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 5:34pm
I echo the words of Zee10.

Truly inspirational, on and off the pitch. Thank you for everything during a glittering career Ale and hope to see you as part of the Juve Management team in the very near future!
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 5:11pm
.....simply put.... A true gentlemen and inspirational not forgetting phenomenal sportsman of the sport!! Grande Del Piero!
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 5:08pm
A class act who bleeds Bianconero, a true Juve great, grazie nostro Capitano, ti saluto

on the 23rd May, 2012 at 3:56pm
There is no icon to admire after Alex.

Never before, never after.

I can't ask much from football after I lived in DelPiero's generation.
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 3:37pm
Not sure if words can describe what Alex means to us Juventini and the club it's self. But this article gets damn close.
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 2:57pm
Fantastic piece - you will not get a player like this one again.
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 2:05pm
I cant wait for about 3-4 yrs time when ADP returns to Juve as a director and steers them to even more greatness!
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 1:57pm
would've loved to see his career end in the club he so dearly loves... all of us Juventini will miss you dearly... you will never be forgotten!
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 1:52pm
It's hard to believe that we won't see him do his " unique" celebration. He will be forever missed but never forgotten!
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 1:51pm
Well written article, Del Piero like Baresi, Baggio & Maldini, go down in history as one of the greatest strikers ever to grace Italian & World Football.

Farewell Alex, wish you all the best with your future endeavors & hope to see you soon in Bianconeri colours again but in a different role....
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 1:34pm
A great career, never forget that goal in the 2006 semi final, I still remember hearing the ball smash in the top right hand corner, and the following silence from the 80k german fans!!
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 1:25pm
Ciao Alex
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 1:18pm
Im in tears after reading this! It's hard to describe the impact Del Piero has had on me, both with his actions on and off the field! A fantastic player and a true gentleman! One love!
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 12:20pm
Great article, Dep Piero is and always will remain my favourite player of all time. In a game where people have no loyalty or class Del Piero stands out. A true gent in every sense of the word and without doubt a great role model to youngsters everywhere.
on the 23rd May, 2012 at 12:08pm

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