Playing for almost 20 years for Italian giant Juventus FC, Alessandro Del Piero is a futbol-soccer legend whose accomplishments leave nothing to be desired among the best of the best. Loved and respected in his native Italy and abroad, he is equally praised for his tremendous skill and gentlemanly behavior.
From his debut in 1993, it could be seen that he had a very promising career ahead when he scored a hat-trick during his firstdebut with the team. He is considered the successor of Roberto Baggio, fellow Italian legend and a mentor for young Del Piero since they played as second forwards and shared a creative style.
The late Gianni Agnelli, then head of the family that owns La Vecchia Signora and an art connoisseur, gave him the nickname by which he is mostly known today: he is called Baggio “Raphael”, a prominent artist of the Renaissance, and Del Piero was “Pinturicchio” (Italian for “little painter”), a lesser-known artist that had a shortness of height, but whose painting strokes were magnificent.
His tenure with Juventus FC propelled him to stardom, spending 11 seasons as the team’s captain with the number 10 shirt (previously worn by Baggio and Michel Platini). Feared for his free-kicks and his “Del Piero Zone” tactic, a style of scoring involving a dribbling approach from the left flank, followed by a precise, curling lob into the far top corner of the goal from outside the area.
Be it with the Bianconeri or the national team, he is a player that won every possible tournament and scored in each and every of them. Besides holding the all-time record for appearances and goals with Juventus FC, he had the privilege to be in the UEFA Champions League finals for three consecutive years and winning the World Cup in 2004.
Nonetheless, Del Piero has shown time and again excellence outside the playing field. A serious preseason competition injury threatened his career, yet he persevered through a hard training regime. Moreover, he was one of the few stars that decided to stay with the team after its demotion due to the Calciopoli event, propelling it back to competition after one season.
His character has earned him six awards in Italy for gentlemanly conduct and even the Golden Foot, an award that measures both ability and sportsmanship. Furthermore, he has involved himself repeatedly in humanitarian efforts, donating for research, serving as ambassador and playing repeatedly in charity matches with other futbol-soccer stars.
Despite his impressive accolades, Del Piero remains as humble as when he began wearing the black and white at the age of 19. Former teammate Alessio Tachinardi once said that “he 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.”