Blog by: Arjun
The relationship between Del Piero and Juventus may have ended on paper and paper alone but the relationship that he has with Juventus in general, with the fans, is far from over. It is an everlasting, non-ending beautiful relationship that just shows the passion towards each other.
May 2012 – Juventus have won their first Scudetto since 2003… 9 years it took for us to claim the trophy that rightfully belongs to us. The members of the team are jumping with joy, the president is happy, the manager is relieved and the fans are ecstatic. The streets of Turin are filled with people celebrating, some of whom have travelled across different time zones and continents to join in.
A week later, there was a mixture of sadness and joy. A middle aged man free from work on a nice weekend turns on to the channel to the Juventus – Atalanta game only to find out the supporters of the winning team are crying in despair. He is shocked and tries to reason what he has just seen. Another Calciopoli? Did Massimo Moratti create another scandal? Has Palazzi been able to pull off treachery again? The work oriented man has probably not followed the rise of the most coveted team in Italy, or probably he watches the English Premier Division.
The Juve tifosi are in tears because the God of Turin is leaving. The club have ended an unforgettable relationship with Il Capitano. The captain of Juventus, a player with most appearances, most goals…God indeed. The man in front of the television wonders whether the happiness of securing a major trophy after a period of 9 long years is more or the sadness surrounding the departure of “the real phenomenon”.
He has concluded, after seeing the footage on live television, by agreeing to the latter case. Many Bianconeri supporters are still dissed with that decision for the captain to be axed. Is our captain bigger than our club? Is our legendary club bigger than our legendary captain instead? Whatever is the answer to that question goes hand in hand. Would Juventus have been a club of such immense value without Del Piero? Would Alex be such a fabulous player without Juventus?
There can be multiple players to achieve the level of supremacy, the “best”. But being the “greatest” is something entirely different. Greatness is not achieved by winning a Balon d’Or alone, or by performing a couple of stepovers. It cannot be achieved just by winning a World Cup or a Champions League. It is a gradual progressive level that only one can attain through years of struggle on the field and off the field.
Alessandro Del Piero is the greatest footballer in the opinion of most of the Juventinos. It is justified for obvious reasons, starting with 19 years of loyalty portrayed by our captain, but that is not the only reason. From winning the league cup, to numerous Scudettos and a single European Cup, Alex Del Piero has won it all at Juventus. He has won all the possible trophies with the club (including the Serie-B), numerous personal accolades and the hearts of not just Juventus supporters but the fans of football.
Alex is probably the most technically gifted player we have ever had, probably even better than Il divin Codino. This technique is not just applicable to skills on the ball but his off the ball movement, his technique of shooting the ball from just anywhere. The most versatile free kick taker the world has seen. These are just glimpses of how good a player he was on the field. The dependency La Vecchia Signora have had on his is unbelievable.
Even with Zidane in the team, we failed to even make it to the Champions League when Alex was out for 10 long months. Players have come, footballers were made, many of them left but there was only one who stuck by for this long. During the Calciopoli, abandon the sinking ship they said to the captain, who had paradise on one hand by winning the World Cup and hell on the other at the sight of playing for the Black and White in Serie B. He stayed. The captain sunk with the ship that helped him get through the worst of storms, the rough waves in the past. The captain replied when asked the reason for staying:
“A true gentleman never leaves his lady”
Such is the greatness of the man who was going to lead the team back into the league a year later. Since then he has broken many previous records, created many to his name, put Amauri’s name on the assists chart when he singlehandedly beat Real Madrid in Europe’s elite competition on two consecutive occasions. He was going to lead the team into winning the Scudetto, a few years later.
What makes him so unique? He can take a gunshot for the team which is evident in the way he has sacrificed his place on numerous occasions in the starting line up to the likes of Ibrahimovic, Amauri and Borriello when asked to do so. He stuck by a team that was demoted into the Serie B, finished 7th in the league on two continuous occasions, failed to qualify to the Champions League on numerous occasions, sacrificing desires such as fame, money and glory.
Pinturicchio has often shown such great qualities. Juventus are playing Lecce in the 2011-2012 season, fighting for the top spot against Berlusconi’s mafia. Leading 1-0 till the closing stages, Super Gigi makes the mistake of gifting the goal to the team in yellow. The whole team is demotivated, Pirlo, usually calm, is frustrated at this. Del Piero, on as a substitute, been on the field for a very less time, runs to Buffon at this incident from the opponent’s box to our defence giving him a high five. This level of dedication to the greatest goalkeeper of the modern era is what makes Alex different from anyone. Buffon needed that bit of confidence; not many realise that bit of inspiration is actually the revival of Gigi as a top custodian at goal. This is what brings tears to the eyes of Juventinos. Regardless of the motive of Alex being left out of the team at the end of the season, he is still a part of Juventus, not on paper… in our hearts… in the hearts of everyone associated to Juventus.
He moved on to a country where football is known as soccer. He may have still played in Europe for any other team, but he decided not to. He joined a team that was formed on the same day as Juventus. He was forced to leave us to promote football along the Pacific Ocean. Alex has contributed a lot to the world, be it raising funds for the earthquake in Japan or playing in charity games. There will always be “the next Maradona” or “the future Pele” but there will never be a glimpse of another Alessandro Del Piero.
Alex has been wishing us and our captain for the success that is ongoing via social network. Alex will definitely want us to vouch for our team even in his absence rather than staying stuck and cribbing over his departure. Tears have been shed, some at the joy of our role model lifting the Champions League, others at the departure of our saviour. If football is our religion, Del Piero is our God and Juventus is the place of worship.
This is an everlasting relationship that will never come to an end… This is the relationship of our greatest player and our club.