Originally published on June 30, 2012
It is over. My contract with Juventus expires today.
It isn’t exactly news, but still, to know that it’s “official” has its effect. It’s not a sad moment for me, I have no regrets or nostalgia. Not anymore. In these days, I have had an opportunity to think over everything that has happened in my last season in Black & White, and from there, go back through the memories to live once again the best dream that I could have possibly ever imagined.
All the memories, all my joys and triumphs and – to be honest – even some recent bitter moments… I clearly see all these images today. But at a certain moment they grow dim, and dissolve into that wonderful stadium hug during my last match in Turin. This picture has it all. Taken on May 13th, it’s a picture I want to have with me forever, it is printed into my heart. Indelible.
Some time ago, before going away on holiday, I emptied my locker in Vinovo and, leaving the training camp, I stopped at the spot where for many months you waited for me to have an autograph signed, a picture taken, or just to shake hands… whether it was raining, snowing, or scorching hot. But this time it is my turn to say goodbye and thank you, like you have done with me throughout all these years.
Players come and go, Juventus remains. My teammates remain here and I wish them all the best: I will always be their biggest fan. Above all, you – the fans – the soul of Juventus, remain here. The jersey that I have always loved and will continue to love forever, a shirt that I desired and respected without any dispensation or economy, remains. I’m happy that others – after I’m gone – will be able to wear it, also and especially #10 which, since player names have been worn in Bianconero, has always had mine over that number. I am happy for the player who will be wearing it next year, I am happy that somewhere – in Italy or in another part of the world – right now, someone is dreaming of wearing this jersey. And I would be proud if that someone would want to follow into my footsteps, like I did with the footsteps of other champions, examples, legends before me.
Starting tomorrow I will no longer be a Juventus player, but I will always remain one of you.
Now it’s time to start a new adventure. I’m enthusiastic and amped up, just like I was 19 Summers ago.
Arrivederci, ragazzi. Grazie di tutto.