Alessandro Del Piero: Il Fenomeno Vero

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He has been the driving force behind the success of the Old Lady of Turin for over two decades now. He is the original trequartista. He is Alessandro Del Piero. The heart and soul of Juventus Football Club.

Del Piero was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest living footballers selected by Pelé as a part of FIFA’s centenary celebrations.  Del Piero was also voted in the list of best European players for the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. He is Juventus’s highest ever goal-scorer with 208 goals and has also turned out in the white and black 513 times, which makes him the highest capped Juve player.

Il Fenomeno Vero, or the real phenomenon, is what the fans like to call him. Del Piero started off as an out and out striker. But later on, under Marcelo Lippi, he switched to a more deep lying role, playing just behind the main striker. This allowed him to take advantage of his superior passing ability and tactical awareness to create as well as score goals in abundance. He is also a very good dead-ball specialist. Del Piero has become famous over the years for scoring from a special “Del Piero Zone” (Gol alla Del Piero), approaching from the left flank and curling a precise lob into the far top corner of the goal. Something which Thierry Henry also excels at.

Del Piero is one of those rare breed of players who have spent almost all of their playing careers at one club. This makes Juventus’s recent stance even more disappointing. This summer, Juventus chose to not renew their contract with the diminutive front-man. And this after he had come off the bench last season to score some very important goals. He has certainly proved that he has still got the legs to compete at the top level. Why the Juventus management would let such a prized asset go is quite a mystery to many experts.

But Del Piero has refused to retire and is currently a free agent. At 37 years of age he has still got 2-3 good years left in him. He will be a good addition to any top club’s squad. With his creativity and vision, he can unlock the best defenses with a telling pass. And he gets on the score-sheet pretty regularly too. Modern medicine has aided players like Ryan Giggs, Raul Gonzalez and Paul Scholes in turning back the clock on their playing careers. So why not Del Piero.

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