Prestigious Juventus Crowned Unbeaten :Del Piero leads the Old Lady to Victory, Bids Farewell
The side coached by Conte beat Atalanta 3-1 and ended their scudetto winning season unbeaten and with a points tally of 84. Del Piero scored his 289th goal for Juventus and waved an emotional goodbye to the fans following numerous chants in his name and a lap of honour. Chiellini injured
Marrone and Del Piero. Their goals – a virtual and symbolic passage between old and new at the bianconeri – define Juventus’ win over Atalanta. Conte’s side therefore ends the season unbeaten: it’s the first time it’s ever happen with a Serie A of 20 clubs. But the game at the Juventus Stadium, a celebration of the scudetto – which, just for the record ended 3-1, with an own goal from Lichtsteiner late on and a penalty converted by Barzagli as the final whistle approached, the 20th Juventus player to get on the score sheet this season – was more about the heart-felt goodbye by the Juventus fans to their club captain and standard bearer, Alessandro Del Piero. Baring unlikely surprise eventualities, he has played his last game for the bianconeri in the Juventus Stadium. His last ever appearance for the side will be on Sunday, fittingly, in a final, the Final of the Coppa Italia against Napoli. And how typical that the Juventus number 10 chose this occasion to score his 289th goal for Juventus in his 704 games: both are records. Substituted at the start of the second half, he made a lap of honour while the game was still being played, almost as if to personally say goodbye to every single fan in the stadium. It was absolutely incredible, in keeping with the way the player has been throughout his career and life. "Thanks for everything" was the most touching chant in his honour, the best, sung by the fans in the curva behind the goal. A fitting tribute and fitting setting for an extremely talented player. In “his” stadium. The exit of Giorgio Chiellini, unfortunately, was completely different and his injury in the 43rd minute of the second half could have serious consequences for his chances of making the Italy Euro 2012 squad.
Fear for Alex —
The game started with the terraces decked out in green, white and red and with the Juventus players walking out onto the pitch either carrying or holding the hand of their children. A nice touch. The game had a heart-stopping start. After less than a minute when Del Piero fell to the floor following a challenge. The Juventus Stadium held its breath. It was an eerie silence, in complete contrast to the deafening noise just seconds before. But the fear quickly passed. Del Piero held his knee, but soon got back to his feet again. An applause went up around the terraces. The cheers and chanting started again. Del Piero started to get into gear: a fantastic through ball for Borriello, who put the ball over when well placed. It was a fantastic assist. That’s enough for now, but we pick up the Del Piero story shortly. The icing on the cake is missing.
The youngster —
In the meantime Marrone scored, after 10 minutes following good work from Borriello which ended with a back heel pass. The young midfield player from Turin scored his 1st goal for Juventus. Complete pandemonium. The Juventus Stadium calmed down, the fans happy, but then exploded again with news of the Novara goal against Milan at the San Siro. And then the cheer “Chi non salta rossonero è" [“If you don't jump, it means you're a rossonero”] went up. Some people clearly weren’t happy enough merely to win the scudetto, they obviously wanted to dominate the Serie A campaign.
The eternal captain —
On 28 minutea the roof almost came off. Captain Del Piero scored. A true artist, a player who can pass the ball like no other. He scored with his right foot, from outside the penalty area. His third goal of the season in Serie A. He was completely mobbed by his teammates. Even keeper Storari ran the entire length of the pitch to celebrate with him. The entire stadium joined in, shouting “Un altro anno" [Another season”]. But that won’t be the case, even if it's nice to think so. Even if the curtain to the fantastic fairy tale between Del Piero and the Old Lady of Italian football will come down after the Juve-Napoli game in the Final of the Coppa Italia. Everyone knows that already. The game was all too easy for Juventus. Atalanta had made certain of their Serie A safety a while ago and, although they didn’t really hold back, they weren’t sweating blood and tears either. It was 2-0 at half time.
The final whistle. But the one to start the 2nd half, not the one to signal the end of the game. Then the celebrations started. Lots of chants, not much action. Obviously, as 12 minutes into the half Del Piero was substituted. He said goodbye to his fans by going to every corner of the ground. He blew kisses to them all. They blew kisses back. The chant "Un capitano, c’è solo un capitano" [“One captain. There’s only one captain”] went up. Then "Alessandro Del Piero olè". It gave you goosebumps, believe me. It was Del Piero’s last game at the Juventus Stadium. Completely unforgettable. In the same way it was unforgettable for him, it will also be unforgettable for the thousands of Juventus fans present. But not only, it was also unforgettable for every lover of football.
By La Gazzetta Dello Sport, 14/05/2012