Italy – Birthplace of the greatest empire in human history, the world’s greatest cuisine, beautiful women…and yes…legendary footballers. There is a veritable treasure trove of Italian players who have reached the summit of the beautiful game, but seeing as how we are indeed Football Hipsters, I thought it prudent for the first Italian inductee to be one who many to this day do not mention all to often…Alessandro Del Piero.
Born in the tiny town of Conegliano in the northeast of Italy, Del Piero’s life could have very easily been rooted in the wine industry that dominates the region. But just like the sweet Prosecco that comes from that part of the peninsula, Pinturicchio would leave an unmistakable yet delightful taste on the mouths of footballing fans the world over.
After beginning his youth career with San Vendemiano at the age of eight, he would move to Padova when he was fourteen and spend a further five years, as well as making his professional debut for the club at just seventeen. In 1993 however, the Old Lady came calling, and a move to Serie A giants Juventus came to pass and it would be where he would go down as a legend in Italian footballing lore. He spent nineteen seasons with the club, winning just about every personal and team-oriented accolade you could think of. When it was all said and done, the diminutive second striker had given us many moments of brilliance as well as unforgettable on-field chemistry with the likes of Filipo Inzaghi, Zinedine Zidane, Pavel Nedved, David Trezeguet and Fabrizio Ravanelli.
After his record-setting time in Turin came to a close, he would then go on to play two years in Australia for Sydney FC from 2012-2014 and then one last hurrah for the Delhi Dynamos in India. After hanging up his boots, he’s worked as a television commentator for Sky Sports Italia as well as dedicating time to a number of charities.
As a player who I greatly admired in my youth, it’s fair to say that someone with his footballing genius does not come around all that often. While so many love to talk about the likes of Francesco Totti, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t grin when you mention Alessandro Del Piero – I know I do.
Total club appearances (all competitions): 777
Total club goals (all competitions): 316
Total national team appearances: 91
Total national team goals: 27 (4th all-time for Italy)
– 6 Serie A titles (’94-’95, ’96-’97, ’97-’98, ’01-’02, ’02-’03, ’04-’05)
– 1 Serie B title (’06-’07)
Remember to check back in each Friday as we induct another great into the Robin Friday Hipster Hall of Fame. Thank you to Hipster Drew @AFCBvB1410 for this contribution.