When thinking of Juventus, three things instantaneously spring to mind: their famous black-and-white stripes; the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal of 2006; and their enigmatic, dashing, prolific leader Alessandro del Piero.
Three factors that have become synonymous with modern-day Juventus. Their kit, leading to the moniker of I Bianconeri (‘The White-Blacks’), actually took inspiration from Notts County at the turn of the 20th century; exasperated at the colour fading from their pink shirts, they asked John Savage, who was on their books at the time if he knew anyone in England who could help them out.
On the theme of “helping them out”, it was the actions of Luciano Moggi, former general director of Juve, which led to the most-seismic scandal known in Europe’s big leagues. Moggi was in deepest, but four other teams – Reggina, Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio – were all implicated in bribing referees to swing games. Punishment in the form of relegation to Serie B followed for Juventus; hefty fines and slaps-on-the-wrist for the others.
But it was Juve’s most loyal and famous son – the latter aspect of the original three – he who captained and led them from the mire of Serie B, who is the real icon of firstly the Stadio delle Alpi, and now the futuristic-looking Juventus Stadium. All-time leading scorer for La Vecchia Signora (‘The Old Lady’), Alessandro del Piero is, undeniably, one of the world’s greats.
His nigh-on 700 appearances – coupled with almost 300 goals – have yielded many medals, gongs and plaudits. Winner of five Serie A titles (it would be seven but the actions of Moggi resulted in Juve being stripped of two), one Champions League title, four Coppa Italias – not to mention the fact he’s a World Cup winner with the Azzurri (for whom he scored a crucial German-defying Semi-Final goal in their successful run of 2006) – the man just oozes success. He even has the sturdy marriage to a beautiful wife to compliment his model good-looks and likeable persona.
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