Juventus FC: Alessandro Del Piero and the Top 20 Bianconeri of All Time
Former Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero recently explained his decision not to join English side Liverpool this summer after thinking about the Heysel tragedy, as per Goal.com. This is just the sort of honourable act we've come to expect from Del Piero, who has achieved legendary status at the club by embodying what Juventus stands for: excellence on and off the field.
In light of Del Piero's last gesture to the fans, let's rank the greatest ever Bianconeri and see where Alex ranks.
Quick Note on the Text
Being a great Bianconeri is about more than being a good player in a black and white shirt. Juventus have one of the richest histories in world football and countless players have achieved legendary status at the club. There are too many players that could be listed under honourable mentions, which is why I would encourage readers to let me know where they feel I went wrong and which players should have been on this list in the comment section below.
20: Zinedine Zidane
Yes, Zizou is only number 20 on our list. Possibly the greatest player of his generation, the Frenchman played in 151 games for Juventus, scoring 27 goals. During his time with the club, he won two FIFA Player Of The Year awards and helped the team win two Serie A titles.
Zidane is this low on the list for a simple reason: “Vincere Non È Importante È L’Unica Cosa che Conta”. Winning is not important, it is everything. That is Juventus' club motto. With Juventus, Zidane played in two Champions League finals but failed to bring home European silverware on both occasions. He left Juventus in 2001 for Real Madrid.
19: David Trezeguet
The all time leading foreign scorer for the Bianconeri, Trezeguet joined the club in 1999 and went on to play in 245 games, scoring 135 goals for the club.
Forming a partnership with Alessandro Del Piero, Trezeguet was instrumental to the success of the team in the past decade, winning four Italian titles with the team. Staying loyal to the club when Juventus was relegated as part of the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, he is perhaps best remembered for his failures from the penalty spot: he missed the kick that cost the 2003 team the Champions League final and was the lone player to miss during the shootout in the 2006 World Cup final.
18: Raimundo Orsi
Raimundo Orsi joined the club in 1928 and went on to win five consecutive league titles between 1930 and 1935. In 176 games for the club, Orsi found the way to the net 77 times. Born in Argentina, he obtained the Italian nationality and was part of the Italian side that won the 1934 World Cup, scoring in the final.
17: Claudio Gentile
Claudio Gentile played on the Juventus back line during in the 1970s and 1980s. In 414 games for the Bianconeri, he scored nine times. Gentile was a key member of a team that won six national titles, a UEFA Cup and a European Cup Winners' Cup. He was also part of the national team that won the 1982 World Cup. Gentile later became a coach for the Italy U-21 team, winning the European Cup and a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics.
Gentile will always be remembered for marking Maradona in the 1982 World Cup, referring to the Argentinian great as a "ballerina".
16: Omar Sívori
A member of the "Angels with Dirty Faces", Sívori teamed up with other Juventus greats John Charles and Giampiero Boniperti to form a deadly strikeforce for the Bianconeri.
Scoring 167 goals in 253 games, the tiny forward contributed to three national titles and two victories in the Coppa d'Italia. Named European footballer of the year in 1961, the Italian Argentine is perhaps best remembered for scoring six goals in a single game against Inter Milan.
To this day, he still ranks as the fifth all time scorer for the Bianconeri.
15: Ciro Ferrara
One of the most feared defenders of his generation, Ciro Ferrara had already built up quite a resume before joining Juventus from Napoli.
Playing in 253 games for the Bianconeri, Ferrara was the heart of a team that won six league titles, a Champions League, an Intercontinental Cup, the InterToto and a European Super Cup.
Overshadowed by other greats like Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, Ferrara never received the international recognition he deserved. But around Italy and in Turin, he is remembered as one of the greatest Italian defenders to ever play the game.
Ferrara returned to Juventus in 2009 to coach the club, but he could not duplicate the success he had as a player. He is the current head coach of Sampdoria.
14: Gianpiero Combi
The first goalkeeper on this list, Combi fits right into the tradition of excellent stoppers that have played for the Bianconeri.
Playing in 371 games, Combi was known for his knack for keeping a clean sheet. He still holds the team record for not conceding, not having to pick the ball from his own net for 934 minutes in 1926. In that season, Juventus only conceded 18 times.
Combi won five Scudetti with the team, and captained the Italian national team to a World Cup win in 1934.
13: Marco Tardelli
Yes, I have forgiven Tardelli for moving to Inter. After all, he was to Michel Platini what Robin is to Batman.
A workhorse in the midfield, Tardelli played 259 games for Juventus, scoring 35 times. Tardelli won five national titles, a UEFA Cup, a European Cup and a Cup Winners Cup with the Bianconeri, and is best remembered for his goal and crazy celebration that helped Italy win the 1982 World Cup.
12: John Charles
Nicknamed The Gentle Giant, the Welsh international was a giant on the field, literally and figuratively.
Playing as a centre half and centre forward, Charles was never booked. In 150 games for the Bianconeri, he scored 93 goals and helped the team win three Scudetti and two Italian Cups.
A very popular figure in his time, Charles remains a beloved person in Turin to this day, as evidenced by a 1997 poll that saw the Welshman voted as the greatest ever foreign player to wear the black and white.
11: Antonio Cabrini
One of the great defenders of all time, watching Antonio Cabrini was like watching art.
A member of the famed Juventus back line of the 1970s and 1980s, Cabrini blended power and pace with perfect technique and vision.
Winning six national titles, two Italian Cups, a European Cup, a UEFA Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and the Italian Supercup, Cabrini is the most successful left back in Juventus history. The 1982 World Cup was the perfect highlight to an amazing career.
10: Pavel Nedved
The man charged with replacing Zinedine Zidane in Turin, Pavel Nedved quickly became one of the most popular players in the history of Juventus. Nicknamed the Czech Fury, Nedved was perhaps best known for his relentless energy and his attitude of never giving up.
Playing in 247 games for the club, The midfielder scored 50 goals. Nedved helped the Bianconeri win four Scudetti and remained loyal to the club when the the team was demoted in 2006.
Pavel Nedved became a board member of Juventus upon his retirement, and is seen as one of the main reasons for the club's recent success.
9: Dino Zoff
One of the best goalkeepers ever to play the game of football, Zoff set countless records playing for Juventus and the Italian national team. As an example of longevity and consistency, Zoff set the benchmark for future stoppers.
In 330 games for the Bianconeri, Zoff helped the team win six national titles, an Italian Cup and a UEFA Cup.
In 1982, he became the oldest player ever to lift the World Cup for Italy.
8: Roberto Bettega
The third highest goalscorer in Juventus history, this Turin native was one of the most feared strikers of his era. Nicknamed The White Feather for his appearance and excellent ball skills, Bettega scored 129 goals in 325 games for the Bianconeri.
Bettega won seven (7!) Scudetti, a UEFA Cup and two Italian Cups. He currently works for the club as deputy director-general.
7: Gianluigi Buffon
Statistically the best goalkeeper to ever play the game, Gianluigi Buffon arrived in Turin in 2001 as the most expensive goalkeeper in history. In 11 years with the club, Buffon has proven to be worth every penny.
Still a top five goalkeeper at the age of 34, Buffon has played in 330 game with the Bianconeri. Known for his incredible reflexes and vision, he has perfected the art of being in the right place at the right time.
Another member of the team that remained loyal in 2006, Buffon has been voted international goalkeeper of the year four times and has contributed to five national titles.
He claimed the World Cup with Italy in 2006, conceding only twice: a penalty and an own goal.
6: Roberto Baggio
Roberto Baggio will never be able to shake off the memories of the 1994 World Cup, and it's a shame, because Baggio was one of the greatest players of his era.
Arriving from Fiorentina in 1990, Baggio turned around the fortunes of a Juventus side that hadn't been able to capture the title for ten years. He was instrumental in turning Juventus into the dominant force they were in the mid 1990s.
Roberto Baggio played 141 games for the Bianconeri, netting 78 times.
5: Michel Platini
UEFA president Michel Platini is perhaps the best player to ever wear the black and white, despite only really having three good seasons for the Bianconeri.
But boy, were those seasons worthwhile.
Playing in 147 games for Juventus, the Frenchman scored 68 times. His most important goal came in 1985, when he scored the only goal against Liverpool in the Europa Cup final, unaware of the scale of the disaster that had just taken place.
Platini also won two national titles with Juventus and the 1984 European Championship with France.
His last contribution to Juventus came when he convinced the club to buy a young French prodigy called Zinedine Zidane.
4: Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte is the best example of what being a member of the Bianconeri is all about. Underrated, vocal, passionate, and above all: a winner.
Playing for Juventus for 12 years, Conte won five Italian titles and was runner-up five more times. He also added a Champions League and UEFA Cup to his resume.
A member of perhaps the most talented squad Juventus ever had, Conte was often overlooked, but no one played with as much heart and passion as Conte.
Conte returned to the club last year as head coach, and under his guidance the team went on to win it's first title since 2006. Juventus is currently unbeaten in 46 straight games.
3: Giampiero Boniperti
The club's highest goal scorer for over 40 years, with 178 goals in 444 appearances, Giampiero Boniperti is a legend in Turin.
Playing with Sivori and Charles, he was part of the deadliest strikeforce Italian football has ever seen. Boniperti captained the team to five Serie A titles and two victories in the Coppa Italia.
Never having played for any other team than Juve, Boniperti became president of the club after his retirement.
2: Gaetano Scirea
The most decorated player in Juventus history, Gaetano Scirea captained a team that won every possible trophy available. How many players in history can say that? Five.
Only one team ever achieved this incredible feat: Juventus. And Scirea was the heart and backbone of this team.
Playing in 397 games for the Bianconeri, Scirea scored 24 goals. He invented the libero-position, revolutionising the way defenses operated. He was integral to the success of the 1982 Italy squad. And he was taken away from us far too soon.
Gaetano Scirea died in a car crash in 1989, aged 36. A Bianconeri legend, he will never be forgotten.
1: Alessandro Del Piero
Most goals in team history. Most appearances in team history. Winner of seven national titles. World Cup Winner in 2006.
Alessandro Del Piero IS Juventus. Arriving from Padova in 1993, Del Piero went on to play in 503 games for the Bianconeri, scoring over 200 goals. Known for his excellent positioning, great technique and set piece-skills, Alex was the face of Juventus for over a decade.
In 2006, after the Calciopoli scandal, Del Piero pledged his allegiance to Juventus and helped the team regain its position amongst the very best of world football.
Three years later, Del Piero was considered too old for football, relegated to the bench. For three straight years the most prolific striker in Bianconeri history did what he had always done: score goals. Coming off the bench, Del Piero scored countless important goals for Juventus in the last stage of his career, earning the tile of Super Sub.
His services no longer needed, Del Piero signed with Australian side Sydney FC in the summer of 2012. Four weeks into the season, Juventus fans everywhere are already complaining about the lack of quality strikers on the team.
Del Piero was given a standing ovation after his last game in the Juventus stadium, a win over Atalanta Bergamo that saw the Bianconeri finish the season unbeaten. It was a beautiful ending to number 10's incredible run with the team he had dreamed of representing since childhood.
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