The former captain will attend the match against Verona. The last time he was greeted by kings. And Juve fans dream of him in management
Sometimes they come back, even on those special days that time doesn’t erase. Twenty-five years ago on April 1, Alex Del Piero took the ball home after signing a hat-trick against Monaco. The scenario was that of the Champions League, the first leg of the semi-final was being played: it finished 4-1. A piece of that Juve on the pitch is reliving a second life today in Turin, some behind the desk like Gianluca Pessotto (head of all the black and white youth teams and also the club’s representative man, since Pavel Nedved left) and some on board field like Paolo Montero (who has been on the Primavera bench since last summer). Of the Juve of that evening, led by Marcello Lippi, in the last decade they have also passed, leaving their mark by coaches Didier Deschamps, Antonio Conte and Fabio Pecchia (in the first and second team). In recent years, the name of Zinedine Zidane has often come back into fashion, but the only true dream of fans is linked to the return of the captain: the one who has played more games than anyone else with the Lady’s shirt (705) and who tonight, on the occasion of Juve-Verona, he will be acclaimed at the Allianz Stadium (sold out) once again. As always.
Del Piero will return to the stadium because he will be in Turin together with his Juve Academy in Los Angeles, just as happened in April last year when he was welcomed as a king on the occasion of the match against Bologna. The former captain’s return home is not strictly linked to the reorganization of the club, but that doesn’t stop the fans’ imagination. “We are living in a complicated moment, but we will be back to winning as always,” President Ferrero said at the official club meeting. That he probably thought of Del Piero from the first day of his inauguration. The off-pitch events, however, prompted the upper levels of the club to structure a technical government, in order to transmit serenity to the whole environment and to be able to manage this historical phase with the utmost professionalism, in which Juve is accused of irregularities on capital gains and salary maneuvers (at the time of Covid) from ordinary justice and also sports justice. The departure of Pavel Nedved, Andrea Agnelli’s vice president, was not followed by the installation of a new symbol man on the sporting level. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the near future.
Black and white heart
Alex Del Piero’s love for Juve is known, as is the affection of all the Juventus people towards him. But the former captain would only return for an operational role, and not just representation. The assumption probably alienated him in the short term, considering that the club’s needs were mainly related to the management of off-field events, but it could be decisive for crossing paths further on. The feeling is that Juve, sooner or later, will be able to envisage a new symbol of the pitch in their managerial cadres, a champion never forgotten, a manager aware of what happens inside the locker room in the most delicate moments of the season and fully aware of all field dynamics. The identikit seems almost done: and brings us back to the 10 most important in the club’s modern history. Among other things, Del Piero could also be the right man to try to mend some institutional relationships in crisis, in particular the one with UEFA which has cracked with the advent of the Superlega project. The caliber of the character would allow the club to have a thick interlocutor.
The inclusion of a new managerial figure cannot be excluded for next summer, when a new sporting director will arrive regardless of everything. The latest rumors would point to a certain willingness of the club to focus on an expert and internationally recognized transfer market man, but who is ready to follow up on the youth development project on which Juve has worked a lot in recent years. Del Piero’s recent utterances about Juve’s young players are perfectly in line with the project that the club has in mind, already projected into the first phase of development thanks to the work of Allegri, who has involved the Under 23s so much in recent months that they can be considered now in all respects elements of the first team, without distinction with the veterans who have more onerous contracts. This will allow for a further reduction in management costs in the near future, without distorting the DNA of the club (which maintains the ambition to win in every competition) and maintaining a high sense of belonging within the group. In this sense, there would be no better reference than Del Piero to accompany this process.
April 1, 2023 (change April 1, 2023 | 1:42 pm)
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