May 28, 1997. Olympiastadion Munich was packed to capacity. Having just savoured the traditional pretzel, bratwurst and bier, 59.000 supporters were waiting for the climax of the most important club competition on earth. They felt privileged. The enthusiasm was sky-rocketing, as the final of the UEFA Champions League was hosted by their city. Even better, a German team was one of the contenders. There was no doubt, however, that quite a lot of them were experiencing some contrasting feelings.
That had to do with the teams brought together by the final of that year: Borussia Dortmund and Juventus Torino. The logical favourite of the crowds would have been Dortmund, had it not been also one of the biggest rivals of local giants Bayern Munich. Therefore, the internal conflict of some supporter was justified.
Dortmund, lead by the legendary coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, were the surprise package of the edition, having eliminated Manchester United on their way to the final. On the other side, Juventus were living a period of glory. They were the big favourites of the competition, boasting some of the finest players at that moment in the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps, Alen Boksic, Ciro Ferrara, Christian Vieri and the one who was set to become a legend, Alessandro Del Piero. Having won the Champions League in the previous season and also just clinched the title in Italy a few days before the final, the Bianconeri were expecting nothing else but another title.
As we all know, it wasn’t to be though. The Old Lady lost the game 3-1 after Hitzfeld outthought Marcelo Lippi in tactics, using Paul Lambert as a Cerberus to guard Zidane and neutralise Juventus’ midfield. Despite the loss it still is one of my happiest memories involving the club. And incidentally, it is also the first one.
Having successfully gone over the infant phase of my childhood at that period of time, the exquisite goal of Alessandro Del Piero gave me a taste of things to come in my life as a Juventino. I was mesmerised. The way he redirected that ball with the back-heel past an idle Stefan Klos who couldn’t even move a muscle, was majestic. Yet he made it look so easy and natural, like any common tap-in. It was the moment when something changed inside me – I was struck by the Bianconero magic.
Afterwards, I couldn’t explain to myself how a team that had someone so talented as Del Piero in its ranks could lose a game. In that little world of mine where everything was spinning around me, it didn’t make sense. It seemed unfair. Justice needed to be done in a way or another. I presume that was also a reason I’ve embraced the Old Lady and everything related to her since then. Becoming a supporter of Juventus was the obvious choice after that. The oath was taken. Finno alla fine forza Juventus.
So tell us, how did you fell in love with Juventus?
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