In the coming WC Del Piero is gonna have to deal with probably the most pressure he's ever had to deal with. If he fails again he'll have to look for a house to buy in Japan or Korea.
Here's something I just found now, written not that long ago by an Italo-Autralian soccer journalist:
Waiting for Del Piero
The weight of expectation has crushed Alessandro Del Piero into nothing more than an average player. Juventus should sell him and cash in on its investment while he is still worth something.
Ever since graduating with honours from the Juventus youth system, he has been the centre of attention, not helped by the fact that he replaced Italian great Roberto Baggio, who was sold to AC Milan.
I can remember the early days when Del Piero would sell a dummy on the edge of the penalty area, cut in onto his right foot, and send his shot curling towards the top corner of the goal with surgical precision. That was one of his best party tricks.
He was a goal scorer and much, much more – a provider of goals, young and enthusiastic. The heir to Baggio’s throne won many admirers, not to mention two league titles, a European Champions Cup and an Intercontinental Cup.
Life was extremely good as Del Piero boarded a plane bound for the World Cup finals in France. He had just completed his best season ever, scoring 21 goals in 32 Serie A appearances.
However, during that summer of 1998, the magic vanished.
Without the support network he enjoyed at Juventus, one of the best teams in Europe at the time, the true Del Piero reared his ugly head. He looked flimsy and somewhat out of his depth. There was nothing special about him at all.
At the relatively young age of 23, he was given the benefit of the doubt, but it was a sign of things to come.
The following years were tumultuous to say the least. Del Piero underwent major knee surgery, his performances for Italy at Euro 2000 were again the subject of heavy scrutiny, and his father passed away.
That brings us to today. Will Del Piero ever regain his best form? It is a question only he can answer, although Italy’s national coach Giovanni Trapatoni has his own ideas, “I believe that all of us have developed exaggerated expectations of Del Piero. His first few seasons were exceptional and perhaps unrepeatable.”
Trapattoni’s remarks follow angry scenes in Turin, where Juventus fans booed their fallen idol off the pitch while he was being substituted against Bologna, “Whistling him now is an ungenerous act and the fans need to change.”
Sorry Trap, but why should the Juventus fans lay off when Del Piero is getting paid over twelve million dollars a season by the club to play, and play well? They, like many Italians, are fed up with waiting for Del Piero to shine again.
The one-time golden boy lost his lustre years ago and I cannot see a way back. He would be useful, though, as a bargaining chip to try and lure a suitable replacement to Turin.
Del Piero remains a first choice striker under Juventus coach Marcello Lippi, but for how long? He was furious at being subbed against Bologna and showed his disgust by ripping off his captain’s armband and slamming it on the ground.
Either he is tired of being criticised (strong possibility), or maybe he is just a spoilt, overrated brat.
When all is said and done this season, I will look back at players such as Pavel Nedved, David Trezeguet and Ciro Ferrara, to name a few, for giving Juventus a shot at winning the championship.
The Italian national coach needs to decide on what to do with the man known as ‘Pinturicchio’, who will need to lift his game if he wants to play alongside Christian Vieri at the World Cup.
Francesco Totti will start behind the two strikers, meaning the race is on to find a partner for Vieri. Del Piero’s competition includes Marco Delvecchio, Vincenzo Montella, Filippo Inzaghi (currently injured) and Marco Di Vaio.
Del Piero will be put to the ultimate test over the next two months, as the World Cup draws nearer. He must deal with the Serie A, Champions League and Italian Cup final before booking a ticket to Japan and South Korea.
Whatever happens between now and Italy’s last World Cup match will determine whether Del Piero stays at Juventus, with the club looking at various attacking options for next season.
I cannot understand how Del Piero fooled the world for so long into thinking he was the real deal. Maybe he peaked too early? All I see is a burnt out player who lost his edge and has no idea how to get it back.
Updated: Mon, Mar 11, 2002 11:25:28 AM AEDT
I pretty much agree with most of what this guy says. How long do we have to wait for this player to do something in our prestigious blue shirt? It's been more than 6 years now.
ps. I hate posting articles.