Saturday November 8 2014
Del Piero: 'My 40 years'

Alessandro Del Piero turns 40 this weekend and looks on Sydney and Delhi experiences. “I had to divide ‘football player’ from ‘Juventus player.’”

The Delhi Dynamos striker celebrates his birthday on Sunday and spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“In recent years I’ve united the great passion for my work with the desire to experience new cultures in their entirety. This allowed me to feel at home even on the other side of the world and feel even more special when I do go home.

“The turning point was the realisation I had to divide the concept of ‘football player’ from that of ‘Juventus player.’ I did not even want to try to relive the extraordinary, unique and unrepeatable experience I had in Turin.

“When I chose Sydney first, then Delhi, I embraced a new path both on and off the field.”

Now that he is turning 40, Del Piero was asked which year he’d like to experience all over again.

“Definitely 2006, but not just because of the World Cup. It was also the year I stayed at Juventus in Serie B and I would change nothing about Calciopoli, because we proved that we were there. We got back on our feet.

“I know what we won and how we won. We did it with sweat and it was fully deserved: from the first to the last point, from the first to the last trophy.

“When I think of rain, I can’t help but remember Perugia...” he said referring to the game that was suspended for an hour in May 2000, eventually allowing Lazio to win the Scudetto.

“If we talk about difficult moments, then the comeback from my injury was very tough. I had to prepare for a sort of second career which was, in a way, even better than the first.

“Signing the first contract with Juventus was the start of everything. It almost scares me to think of how much my life changed in that magical moment, when I made my dream come true.

“However, nothing and I mean nothing can be compared to what happened that day at the Juventus Stadium. Everything was there and I can try to explain it for the next 40 years without finding the right words. It is all in my heart and will stay there for the rest of my life.”

Del Piero said he couldn’t draw up an ideal XI, but “I always dreamed of playing with Platini and Maradona. I even would’ve allowed one of them to wear the Number 10 jersey!

“I am most proud of my rapport with teammates, as on the field we are like brothers. I am tied to Marcello Lippi by indelible memories, two extraordinary adventures.

“For Carlo Ancelotti I have profound respect and gratitude, as a Coach and as a man. Fabio Capello: two difficult years, but winning ones with two Scudetti.

“Antonio Conte: Not everyone can win as a teammate and then as a Coach in the same club, so the Scudetto was unforgettable.

“Giampiero Boniperti: he’s like a football father for all the Juventini, a continual source of inspiration for me.

“Andrea Agnelli: we both love the same thing, which is Juventus. That’s the only thing that counts.

“The fans: we are tied by deep and infinite love, the greatest victory of my career.”

Alex had said he wouldn’t become a Coach when he retired, but is now reconsidering his options.

“My career as a player is coming to an end. I try to build my future day by day, experience by experience. It is strange to explain: I don’t know what I’ll do yet, but I am learning to do it.”

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