Alessandro Del Piero: The Fantasista Forever Ingrained in Bianconeri Folklore

Juventus are littered with club legends. Players who've either been and gone or stayed there their whole careers, their Hall of Fame is well stocked.

Picking any one of those to be the face of the club is an unenviable task, but there is one name who unwittingly has made himself 'Mr Juventus': Alessandro Del Piero...not that any such title actually exists.

One of the greats, Gianluigi Buffon, is still a feature at the club, but while the goalkeeper may also be the among the first names to appear on the tip of your tongue, Del Piero's name is one that will crop up most.

Juventus' forward Alessandro Del Piero (
Icons. | OLIVIER MORIN/Getty Images

19 seasons with I Bianconeri were never going to pass by without fond memories. Del Piero had plenty.

Having started out his career in goal en route to becoming a national treasure, the eventual move up the pitch bore fruit when he signed professional terms with Padova. Even at such a young age, his talent was evident, prompting the classic scramble from the higher leagues to obtain his signature.

Juventus won that race, and it didn't take him long to make an impression.

His full debut for the club set the tone for the next two decades, in which he scored a hat-trick against Parma in 1993, but what was clear from his early days was a genuine love of the game. An obsession with being the best he could be and doing so in a manner that brought joy to all who watched on.

While the early signs were there of a long-lasting and fruitful career, few could have predicted that he would go on to become so synonymous with the club. That path would conclude with him becoming one of the best players of his generation, making more appearances and score more goals than any other player in Juventus' history.

Alessandro Del Piero, Fabrizio Ravanelli
Not a bad start to life as the club's new number ten | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Part of that romantic story began in just his second season in Turin, where eight Serie A goals would help push Juventus toward a first Scudetto in nine years, playing alongside the likes of Roberto Baggio, Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli.

Operating in the supporting striker role - although he featured across the front line in his early career - his tendency to drop deeper into pockets of space were the result of outstanding technical ability. An elegance on the ball either in front of or behind the back line, his wizardry in such areas saw him score an array of different goals. Efforts from distance were a common feature, and so too were free kicks - he would score 53 throughout his career.

Perhaps the biggest indication of what was to follow came ahead of the 1995/96 season, where Baggio's departure freed up the number ten shirt previously worn by Michel Platini - yet another member of Juventus' endless legendary alumni. He would do that number proud as that season, and I Bianconeri lifted the Champions League title.

Del Piero would finish second in the scoring charts with six goals during the competition, one of which was claimed via a penalty shootout victory over Ajax. Years of loyalty, brilliance and goals followed, stretching all the way until 2012, and sinking as low as Serie B after the Calciopoli scandal in 2006.

Alessandro Del Piero
19 seasons, 290 goals, 705 appearances. Legend | Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

He stayed during that difficult period, remaining the club's talisman, assisting regularly and scoring frequently. He poured his heart and soul into Juventus, never offering any less than blood, sweat and tears each week, and rarely ever failing to match the standards he set himself.

A total of six Serie A crowns, four European titles, one Coppa Italia, 705 appearances and 290 goals later, Del Piero's legacy remains completely untouched. No amount of future legends will ever change that. Or anything, for that matter.

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