Juventus: End of an Era for Talisman Alessandro Del Piero?

Marzia HazraAnalyst INovember 4, 2010

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 17:  Alessandro Del Piero of Juventus FC celebrates his goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and US Lecce at Olimpico Stadium on October 17, 2010 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

On Saturday night Juventus grabbed their first victory at the San Siro in five years. It was a game in which the Bianconeri entered as underdogs but ultimately finished on top thanks to Alessandro Del Piero’s powerful finish in the 65th minute.

The goal was Il Capitano's 179th in the Italian top flight, overtaking Giampiero Boniperti’s previous record of 178 and making Del Piero the all-time top Juventus scorer in Serie A.

However, the beloved captain could end up scoring goals for another outfit in the not-too-distant future.

Right before the kickoff to Saturday’s prestigious “Derby dei Campioni,” Del Piero told Sky Italia that he could playing his last game at the San Siro. The statement was based on months of fractious negotiations over the signing of a new contract.

Despite playing down the statement after the game, Il Pinturicchio clearly marked that the issue is very much occupying his mind.

Del Piero has made no secret of his desire to continue playing his trade despite the fact that he’s about to turn 36 on November 9. Blinded by loyalty, Del Piero cannot see himself playing in another shirt in Italy meaning he would have to remain at Juventus—or move abroad.

With his contract due to expire on June 30, time is starting to run out. In other words, it remains to be seen whether or not the club is willing to extend his current contract.

With The Old Lady busy trying to fit the building blocks together after the Calciopoli scandal, it’s only natural that focus has been elsewhere. However, it seems Juventus are finally finding their stride under the tutelage of former Sampdoria tactician, Gigi Del Neri after a few weeks of initial struggling.

With the waters having calmed somewhat, the club’s center of attention should be now directed towards extending the contract of one of its most loyal servants.

For 18 seasons Del Piero has played at Juventus during which he has acquired a legendary status.

Although arguments such as Del Piero’s age and the number of games he’s started over the last couple of seasons can be debated, there are more positives to be gained if he would be allowed to return.

First and foremost, Il Pinturicchio is a source of inspiration for the team and an icon respected by the entire world of football. With his strong leadership abilities the forward is an example to be followed.

In a world ruled by money, his loyalty has never wavered—not even during the aftermath of the Calciopoli-scandal—and neither has his joy and enthusiasm for the game. Nobody loves the big games like Del Piero and although he may lack some of his earlier grandeur, the captain’s sheer desire adds another dimension to his game.

The day Del Piero decides to retire will be a sad day for football. However, the least the Juventus board can do is to let a magnificent carrier get the decent ending he deserves. In order words, the game’s last real gentleman should be allowed to bow out gracefully from the club where he’s given his all for almost two decades.