The hardest thing in football isn’t achieving a legacy, but it’s knowing how to maintain it. Players like Manchester United’s all-time record goalscorer Wayne Rooney’s failure to look after himself, has cost him going down as the Red Devils’ greatest ever player. And even Chelsea’s Frank Lampard soured his Blues tenure by joining Premier League rivals Manchester City, and scoring against his former employer.
Perhaps players don’t really care about leaving behind legacies, or being adored by everyone from boardroom to the terraces, associated with a certain club(?).
Alessandro Del Piero, though, never has to think about what might’ve been, had he not joined his team’s fiercest rivals or stayed around at a club for too long; the Italian maestro is Juventus’ golden child and that will never change.
Although the former Sydney FC player perhaps looks back on his exit from his original home, Stadio delle Alpi, with a slight nostalgic sadness – Del Piero wanted to sign a new deal with the Old Lady, but the offer never came. Although, that decision from the powers that be at the Serie A giants, may well have helped secured Alex’s legacy in Turin.
Would a new deal have seen performances, influence and adulation for their captain drop? Wayne Rooney will tell Del Piero it isn’t worth taking the risk.
Record appearance holder with over 700 matches to his name, Juventus’ highest ever goalscorer, serial title and Champions League winner. But it’s the loyalty that really strikes a cord with the Turin faithful, and that’s why Del Piero will forever remain in their hearts.
“The negotiations with Sydney were already at an advanced stage and then I thought about what happened at Heysel.
“Juve and Liverpool have worked hard to mend their relationship, but for a lot of people it’s something that can never be forgotten.
“I wasn’t interested in money. I’ve won everything there is to win so another Champions League campaign would have done nothing for me. I came to Australia to experience something new and I want to make the most of this new adventure. Above all I just want to play football.”
Alessandro Del Piero speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport in 2012
Many reference Francesco Totti as the don of Italian football for the last two decades or so, however, although the Emperor of Rome has had a highly impressive career, the trophy cabinet isn’t as full as his Italian counterpart, Del Piero’s.
Both captains of their iconic sides, and yet it seems only Del Piero had that added spark, drive and influence to carry his team onto several trophies.
Del Piero would never end up being worthy of a place in this ‘snake XI’, the man is as loyal as they come!