Alessandro Del Piero is not strictly a one-club man, but if there were boxes beside the criteria for being considered a club legend, he’d tick every single one of them.
His trophy haul is something special, too: along with his six Serie A and Coppa Italia winners’ medals, Del Piero has won a Champions League title and a World Cup. He has even appeared in the finals of the European Championships and the UEFA Cup, the only two major trophies the Italian striker failed to win as a player. As a player, he scored in every competition he entered.
Those trophies were all won during Del Piero’s time at Juventus, where he played between 1993 and 2012: almost an entire career spent at the top and only briefly in the second tier after the club’s relegation in 2006, when he stayed at the club and helped them to promotion. All in all, he is the Old Lady’s all-time top scorer and appearance maker. Indeed, Gianluigi Buffon is in second place, and will need to make another 88 appearances for the club if he’s to take the record. That’s at least another two seasons as the club’s first choice goalkeeper, and also staying injury and suspension free – quite the task for a 39-year-old.
Despite his goalscoring prowess, however, Del Piero was far from a goal poacher. He played in the half-positions between the strikers and attacking midfielders, linking midfield with attack effectively thanks to his vision, passing ability, and his penchant for cutting in from the left and curling a shot into the far corner. He did this so often than the space on the corner of the box became known as the ‘Del Piero zone’
Even by the time that his career should have been winding down, he could drop deeper and use his brain and technical abilities rather than declining physical prowess. This enabled him to extend his career, leaving Juventus in 2012 at the age of 37, and retiring at the age of 40 after spells in Australia and India.
Del Piero will be looking to add to this medal tally at ICONS of Football at the Belfry in June as part of Darren Clarke’s Rest of the World team. Alongside more of the game’s modern greats such as, Nemanja Vidic, Andriy Shevchenko and Pep Guardiola, they will take on an England side captained by Lee Westwood and including legends like Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes.
He’ll be hoping to swap his habitiual high-scoring for some low scores next month.