Last Sunday we brought back the scudetto to Turin, something all of us have been waiting for since Juventus came back to Serie A in 2007. Although this momentous occasion should have been a time of immense joy (and it was in Trieste two weekends ago), it didn't feel anything but bittersweet... because Alessandro Del PIero is leaving our club.
On Sunday, the atmosphere at the Juventus Stadium was simply surreal. At the beginning the excitement of being champions, then, the expectation of maintaining our undefeated streak. All of this followed by Del Piero's beautiful goal to put the game to bed. So far so good. Del Piero was substituted and the game came to a total halt. At that moment, everyone in the stadium, and anyone watching the game realized they were seeing history in the making. It seemed as though the world had stopped to witness the last time Il Capitano played as a bianconero in Turin. Then of course, our captain said goodbye to his supporters, who would throw scarfs, shirts, and jackets as a sign of their appreciation for years of magic.
Up to that point I was hoping there was a contract renewal surprise at the end of the match, but looking at Del PIero's face it slowly became clear that this was it. All the years, all of the emotions, all of the celebrations led us to this moment. Next year, Alessandro Del Piero will not be in our roster, the call-up list will not ever show his name again, and that is the sad reality. I know there will be times when Juventus will get a free-kick a few yards outside the box and I will think, Del Piero should take it, all of this just to come to the realization that he will be taking free-kicks for some other team.
At the end of the game, my brother asked me if I would prefer Marotta to announce Van Persie's signature or Del Piero's renewal. Without hesitation I chose the latter. Not because Van Persie is not a good player, who may be able to contribute more to Juventus at this moment, but because Van Persie is not Del Piero. Call me sentimental, but icons like Alex, Buffon, Platini, Scirea.. have no value and can't be replaced. At the moment there are many great players out there that can help the team, but none of them are, or will be, what Del Piero is to this team. I hope one these great strikers join us next season, but I don't think for a second that they will replace Il Capitano. Given what we witnessed last weekend, statements such as: "(insert player`s name here) is the new Del Piero" seem so trite and nonsensical that I for one will choose to abstain from them. It is the least I can do.
Now, let's just try to remember all of the great times he gave us and be thankful that we lived to see the youngster become legend, and that he allowed us to be part of history for the last 19 years.