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World Cup Football

Alessandro Del Piero

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Alessandro Del Piero (born November 9, 1974 in Conegliano) is an Italian football player. He is the captain of Juventus and a member of the Italian national side. He was a part of the 2006 FIFA World Cup winning side.

Usually, Del Piero plays as a support-striker and occasionally between the midfield and the strikers (in the hole), known in Italy as the "Trequartista" position. He is not the tallest of forwards, but is certainly one of the most creative forwards in the world, rather than being a "goal poacher."

Del Piero is renowned for his deadly finishing, and the ease in which he dribbles past defenders. He is an expert in dead-ball situations as he is among the world's best in taking free kicks and penalty kicks. Particularly famous for inside-curling, dipping shot that he takes in the area that is up to 10 yards outside the penalty box, which is known as "La Zona Del Piero" meaning "The Del Piero Zone."

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Biography

Club

Del Piero was spotted playing for hometown San Vendemiano — he left home at the age of 16 to start his professional career in 1991 with Padova of Italian Serie B. In 1993, he transferred to Juventus, and has been there ever since. Del Piero made his Serie A debut against Foggia in September 1993, scored his first goal in his next game against Reggiana after appearing as a substitute, and then grabbed a hat-trick against Parma on his first start. Juventus claimed their first Scudetto in eight years in his first season and success continued to follow.

Pass It On

With the Turin club, he won the Serie A championship five times (1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2003), the Champions League (1996), and the Intercontinental Cup (1996). His best season was in 1997-98, when he scored 21 goals in Serie A and finished top scorer in the UEFA Champions League with 10 goals, which included a peach of a freekick against Monaco in the semi finals. Del Piero struggled for form at the beginning of the 1998-99 season, whilst doping allegations were aimed at Juventus (they were later found innocent). In October he picked up a serious knee injury in the 2-2 draw with Udinese. This kept him out of action for the remainder of the season. Juventus struggled without him and limped home to a lowly 6th place in Serie A. It is claimed by some that Del Piero has never fully recovered from this injury, and therefore never quite fulfilled the potential he had shown at a very young age.

His nickname is Pinturicchio, in reference to a joke by Gianni Agnelli when he compared the emerging Del Piero to Roberto Baggio in a parallel between the student Pinturicchio from Perugia and the teacher Caravaggio. He's also been nicknamed by the fans "Il Fenomeno Vero"  meaning the true, the real "Phenomenon".

One of Del Piero's greatest strengths as a footballer is his versatility, which allows him to play in a variety of attacking positions. While he started his club career playing as a full-fledged striker, he settled into a more deeper role as a support-striker. Because of his great technical ability, accurate passing skills and impressive vision, he has also been positioned as a playmaker; in the central slot behind the forwards. In any zone surrounding the penalty area, his prowess as a creator of goals came to the fore. Under Marcello Lippi's reign as Juventus coach, Del Piero's creative abilities were on display whatever the coach's formation was. Del Piero showed his class in the lethal "trident-attack" formation along with veterans Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli. After that, he took a leading role in a creative combination with Zinedine Zidane behind Filippo Inzaghi. As Juve's playing style changed in Lippi's second stint with Juventus starting 2001, Del Piero was still vital as his partnerships with Pavel Nedved in midfield and David Trezeguet upfront has contributed enormously to Juve's continued success in Italy and Europe.

National

Despite huge success on the club level, Del Piero in the past has somewhat disappointed playing for the Italian national team, although he is currently the national teams all-time 4th topscorer.

Coming into the 1998 FIFA World Cup with huge expectations, he competed with fan favourite Roberto Baggio for a spot, and had some troubles because of a recent injury he picked up during the Champions' League final whilst playing for Juventus. Two years later Del Piero became one of the culprits for Italy's last minute loss in Euro 2000 final, missing 2 chances, which could have killed France off.

However, he returned to the international scene in the 2002 FIFA World Cup on the back of a very impressive season in Serie A, in which he led Juventus to the title. Del Piero scored the decisive goal against Hungary which qualified the Azzurri to the World Cup. In the tournament he scored a goal against Mexico with his first touch of the game seconds within coming on as a substitute to send Italy through to the second round, but they would get no further.

After Euro 2004, Del Piero faced another tough moment after Juventus replaced their Coach Marcello Lippi with Fabio Capello. Capello was not convinced of Del Piero's abilities and favoured the new signing from Ajax, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, the Juve captain fought back and scored 14 goals in Serie A that season, helping Juventus to their 28th Scudetto. Most memorable perhaps was his bicycle-kick

Alessandro Del Piero
Personal information
Full name Alessandro Del Piero
Date of birth November 9, 1974
Place of birth Conegliano, Italy
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Position Deep-Lying Forward
Club information
Current club Juventus
Number 10
Professional clubs*
Years Club Apps (goals)
1991-1993
1993-
Padova
Juventus
14 (1)
331 (134)
National team**
1995- Italy 79 (27)
* Professional club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of June 19, 2006.
** National team caps and goals correct
as of July 9, 2006.

assist against AC Milan which sealed the Scudetto for Juventus.

Although a strong fan favourite, the Juventus captain found himself starting on the bench for most of Italy’s matches in the World Cup 2006. During all of the group stage matches, Del Piero started on the bench, coming on twice; first as a substitute late in game in the first match with Ghana. Then in the following match he came on as a substitute at the 54th minute in the match against the U.S.A.

Del Piero was more active for Italy during the knockout stages; starting in the last 16 clash with Australia. On July 4, 2006 while facing host nation Germany in the semifinals of the competition, Del Piero, after coming on as a substitute towards the end of the game, scored Italy's second goal. On a fast break while Germany were on the ascendancy, Alessandro Del Piero scored the second goal for Italy with Alberto Gilardino perfectly backheeling the ball into Del Piero's path. Needless to say Jens Lehmann had no chance. Del Piero confidently stroked the ball over Lehmann. Thus ending any hopes of a last minute comeback from Germany. This goal was chosen as one of the best of the tournament.

In the final Del Piero scored the fourth penalty kick in the finals of World Cup 2006, helping Italy to win the World Championship for the 4th time in its history. Italy managed to score all five penalties. Del Piero admitted subsequently that winning the World Cup was his childhood dream.

2006 Season and onwards

Experts agree that Del Piero was back to his best in the 2005-2006 season  having scored 20 goals in all competitions. His most memorable goal this season was the free kick which won the match against bitter rivals Internazionale. However, his role at Juventus has changed this season as coach Capello prefers using him as a substitute for an 'immediate impact', as Capello puts it. In 2006 Del Piero equalled José Altafini's Serie A record of 6 goals as a substitute after scoring in the final minute of Juventus's final game of the 2005-2006 season. Del Piero himself is ambivalent about his ability to get goals off the bench, stating that "I want people to know me for more than being able to come off the bench to change a game", and in late March of 2006 revealed his openness to finishing his career with a club outside of Italy if it would guarantee him a place as a starting forward.

On January 10, 2006 Del Piero became the all time leading goalscorer for Juventus when he scored three times in a Coppa Italia match against Fiorentina and took his total goals for the club to 185. The previous record holder was Giampiero Boniperti, who scored 182 goals for the club. As of august 2006, Del Piero has 197 goals for Juventus in official matches and has scored the last goal for Juventus in their latest Scudetto for the 05/06 Season.

Due to the Calciopoli scandal, Juventus were demoted to Serie B. Del Piero announced that he will stay to captain the team in Serie B. He underlined that players should stick with the team, explaining that “The Agnelli family deserve this, as do the fans and the new directors".

Del Piero's first appearance after the World Cup's triumph was in the Coppa Italia match against Cesena on August 23, 2006. Since Juventus will be playing in Serie B for the 2006-2007 season, the Coppa Italia campaign became increasingly important for the club in order to achieve a Uefa Cup spot. Having being in vacation beforehand, Del Piero started from the bench. Juventus and Cesena were locked on 1-1 when Del Piero entered in the 74th minute and after 9 seconds scored the winning goal for Juventus.

Del Piero then came in as a sub at the 61' minute for Juve's next Coppa match on August 27 vs. Napoli in Napoli's stadium, the San Paolo. Again Juventus was behind but Del Piero scored twice to give Juve the lead. In the end the match went into penalties, Del Piero scored a decisive one, but Napoli eventually won 5-4 in the shoot-out.

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1991-92 Padova Serie B 4 0 - - 4 0
1992-93 10 1 - - 10 1
1993-94 Juventus Serie A 11 5 1 0 2 0 14 5
1994-95 29 8 10 1 11 1 50 10
1995-96 29 6 3 1 11 6 43 13
1996-97 22 8 4 0 9 7 35 15
1997-98 32 21 5 1 10 10 47 32
1998-99 8 2 2 1 4 0 14 3
1999-00 34 9 2 1 9 2 45 12
2000-01 25 9 2 0 6 0 33 9
2001-02 32 16 4 1 10 4 46 21
2002-03 24 16 1 2 13 5 38 23
2003-04 22 8 5 3 4 3 31 14
2004-05 30 14 1 0 10 3 41 17
2005-06 33 12 5 5 7 3 45 20
2006-07 Serie B 35 20 2 3 - 37 23
2007-08 Serie A 37 21 4 3 - 41 24
2008-09 23 9 2 1 9 6 32 16
Total Juventus 426 184 52 23 113 49 592 257
Career Total 439 185 52 23 113 49 606 258

Trivia

  • He has a brother, called Stefano, who is nine years older and briefly played football for Sampdoria before injury struck him. Alessandro's mother, Bruna, is a housekeeper and his father, Gino, who was an electrician, died in February 2001.
  • As a small child Alex lived at a rural property with his family and played at the backyard. His two friends, Nelso and Pierpaolo used to play with him. The three of them wanted to become footballers, but only Del Piero managed to do so.
  • Del Piero recalled that when he was growing up there was never any money for travelling abroad and that he wanted to be a lorry driver so he could see places. As a professional football player he was eventually able to travel all around the world.
  • He once said that he used to play as a goalkeeper because he could play a lot more football that way. His mother thought it would be better for him if he played as a goalkeeper, since he wouldn't sweat and the possibility of him getting injured was smaller. But one day, Stefano told their mother: "Don't you see that Alex is good in the attack?"
  • Sonia Amoruso is Del Piero's wife. Alex and Sonia have been together since 1999 and eventually married in 2005.
  • Del Piero was once the world's best paid player from salary, bonuses and advertising revenue
  • Del Piero is into other sports and also into music. He has even released some music CDs himself.
  • Del Piero is regarded also for his character off and on the pitch. He has won several awards such as the "'Coppa d'Argento' Premio Speciale Gentleman" , the "San Siro Gentleman Serie A TIM"  and the Associazione Soomaaliya Special Award for Fairness which is assigned to the persons who with their silence have not been arrogant, aggressive or violent
  • Del Piero is known for his sense of humour. He once joked that if Lippi doesn't convoke him to the World Cup in Germany, he'll "run him over with his car and sink his damn boat".
  • Pelé named Del Piero in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Pelé as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations. He was also voted in the list of best European players for the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.
  • Del Piero was a 2006 Winter Olympics Torchbearer in Turin.
  • He is considered to have a strong bond with the fans; "I'm proud to be a Juventino, to be a "bandiera", like you define me to be often, in reality I'm just a small part of a big black & white "bandiera" (flag) that grows with the years and if you look closely your name is part of it... To continue making this "bandiera" grow we need everybody: let's stay united."
  • Del Piero is a huge Oasis fan and has a good relationship with Noel Gallagher. In fact, Del Piero claimed Gallagher was Italy's lucky mascot in their 2006 World Cup success and invited him to the final and the team hotel after victory.
  • He appeared in a Rolling Stones Concert in Milan in 2006 together with Marco Materazzi, following Italy's World Cup victory.
  • Famous sport icons such as NBA star Steve Nash and cycling legend Eddy Merckx stated that they're fans of Del Piero.

Honours and awards

  • 7 Italian Championships: 1994/95, 96/97, 97/98, 2001/02, 2002/03, (2004/2005, 2005/2006 : last two revoked due to Calciopoli scandal)
  • 4 Italian Super Cups: 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003
  • 1 Coppa Italia: 1994/95
  • 1 UEFA Champions League: 1995/96
  • 3 UEFA Champions League Finalist medals: 1996/97, 1997/98, 2002/03
  • 1 European Supercup: 1996
  • 1 Intercontinental Cup: 1996
  • 1 Intertoto Cup: 1999
  • 1 Italian Youth Championship 1994
  • 1 Torneo di Viareggio: 1994
  • 1 UEFA Cup Finalist medal: 1995
  • 2 European Under-21 Football Championships: 1992/94, 1994/96
  • 1 UEFA Euro 2000 Finalist medal
  • 1 FIFA World Cup: 2006
Awards
  • U-21 European Footballer of the Year
  • MVP of the Intercontinental Final Award 1996
  • Best Italian Player Award 1998
  • Best Overall Player Award 1998
  • UEFA Champions League Top Scorer 1997
  • UEFA Champions League Top Scorer 1998
  • Most Popular Italian Player Award
  • Most Charismatic Striker in Italy 2001
  • UEFA Champions League 10 Years Jubilee Poll Best Attacker
  • Best Goal Scorer of Juventus of All Times 2006

Quotes

  • Diego Armando Maradona: Talking about the best 100 world footballers ever he says "Here he is, he is different from Zidane, he likes to play, he feels it in his soul; between he and the French (Zinedine Zidane), I stay with him."
  • Angelo Di Livio: "I've met Ale at the Primavera. And he was already a phenomenon. He was so brave that we forced the coach to make him debut at the main team". "He has those abilities that only great stars have. And everyone, as soon as they saw him, said “This one will surely make it".
  • Carlo Ancelotti: "He is a world-class player who needs no introductions".
  • Mauro Camoranesi: "He is an exceptional person and really doesn’t need to prove himself to anyone. Del Piero is a wonderful man and player."
  • Adrian Mutu: "Alex is an example for all of us. He works hard in training without ever speaking out."
  • Gianluca Zambrotta: "It’s still surprising to me that Alessandro Del Piero has gone through his career without winning this trophy" (the Ballon d'Or).
  • Marcello Lippi: "Del Piero is a champion with extraordinary technical ability and wonderful characteristics. When he is selected he never disappoints. He is an example to us all." "He has great skills and intuitions that few other players have". "He is a captain in the real sense of the word".
  • Fabio Capello: "I believe in champions and Alex is a champion". "Del Piero is a player of very high quality and deserves his record". Because of having many strikers in the squad: "Sometimes I feel embarrassed at putting him on the bench."
  • Fabrizio Ravanelli: "Del Piero is able to do certain things, that could seem extraordinary, but he does them like they were simple"
  • Giuseppe Taglialatela: The former Napoli keeper recalls a goal conceded from Del Piero: "Let’s say he scored a goal a la Baggio, a la Maradona. He took the ball in midfield, dribbled 3-4 teammates of mine. He’s good, what can I say?"
  • Alessio Tacchinardi: "He (Del Piero) always comes to the training field with a smile for everyone, a comforting word for everyone. This is his greatness: humbleness... he’s a golden person".
  • Ruben Olivera: "Del Piero is my idol. When I arrived at Juventus and I was introduced to Alex, it was like touching the heavens with my finger"
  • Frankie Dettori: "Del Piero is a true genius"
  • Mark Hughes: "Even though Del Piero may be well into his 30s now, he remains one of the great players".
Wiki Source

Comments

DEl piero is my favorite football player..majoe trs del piero.GBU

HE is the best Free Kick taker the best Forward and the best footballer!

i love del piero

he is no.1 in the world

he is the best....no doubt

he is the best man and player that the history knows...........grande caratere

i must say that he is a very extraordinary player and he really knows what he is good at.

too right he is a king

i love him cause he is so great

He is a magnificent and extraordinary player. He can dribble, get in a powerful shot, cross and has extreme skill. He is rightfully in my opinion joint with Inzaghi the best player in the world!



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