Originally published on April 18, 2012
The dreaded day is approaching. With Juventus having their best season since Farsopoli and continuing their intense two-front battle towards silverware, none of us Juventini want to think about any impending sadness. But looming over the horizon is perhaps the biggest grief of them all: Alessandro Del Piero‘s last day in Bianconero.
I must admit that so far, I’ve had a relatively zen attitude towards the harrowing moment. Ever since that famous press conference by Andrea Agnelli in which our president announced this would be ADP’s last season with the Old Lady, I have secretly harbored the tiny hope that maybe, just maybe, with the right circumstances and a sufficient amount of decisive goals and assists, things might go a different way.
Well, in occasion of his upcoming book “Giochiamo Ancora“ (‘Let’s Keep on Playing’) due to be released April 24th, Del Piero has given an interview to Vanity Fair Italia, who had the chance to read ADP’s work in exclusive preview. And for the first time this year, the Juventus captain has publicly addressed his approaching departure from Turin. With little room for interpretation…
A sad day is coming ladies & gents… A sad day indeed.
Your book begins with an essay question from your elementary school days: ‘What will I be when I grow up?’. Even today, at 37 years of age, people continue to ask that to you.
“Back then I didn’t have the courage to write: a footballer. I was ashamed of that dream because it didn’t seem like a real job to me. I wrote I’d be an electrician like my father Gino, or a truck driver, or a chef. Today, if someone asked me that question, I would answer my games have not ended yet.”
You’ve learned to be proud of being a footballer.
“Yes, because – as I wrote in my book – I’m not what a coach or a president may think of me. What I think of myself and who I show to be, that’s who I am. I’ll be the first one to know when to stop, but that time hasn’t come yet: my passion for the beautiful game is too strong.”
You wrote that you didn’t cry, as you would have wished, for the death of your father.
“My regret is that he did not have the opportunity to meet my children, not telling him “I love you” more often. His passing away is the greatest sorrow of my life.”
You grew up in a family where a penny saved was a penny earned.
“We weren’t poor, but we had to save money. The notion of not being wasteful has stayed with me. (…) Today I am one of those children who can buy all the toys that he wants, but his favorite one remains that round ball rolling on the grass.”
Did you know Piermario Morosini?
“When faced with a death so absurd I feel a sense of dismay: Piermario’s personal life story makes this tragedy even more unacceptable, and forces us to reflect on how relative everyday-life problems are, on the realities of real suffering around us. I did not know Mario but they all remember him as a good young one, capable of overcoming life’s difficulties even through football. A sport which, for all of us who use it to their living, should only ever represent ‘shared joy’ on the football field.”
Tell us the truth: you’d have preferred to finish your career at Juventus.
“It was my dream. These twenty years have been full of emotions, with extraordinary and sometimes hard moments: I felt the thrill of breaking almost every record with the Bianconeri. But now things have changed.”
They might have changed, but you’ve been scoring great goals as of late, you are being revered by your public. How would you define this last season?
“The most complicated of my life because I have been confronted with a reality I had ever known before: that of someone who plays little or not at all. Nobody thinks they deserve to be benched. Although I’ve always thought that if someone else plays instead of you then he has done something to deserve it, this does not mean giving up the fight for that starting spot.”
How did you feel when Andrea Agnelli, as early as October, announced you would not be a member of Juventus in 2013?
“I was surprised. But a captain must never forget his duties and what he represents. Juventus is fully committed to win the campionato and Coppa Italia. We do not need controversy, something which by the way has never been part of my career.”
But will it really will your last year wearing Black & White?
“From June 30th I’ll be without a contract. I cannot imagine my future, it’s a huge change and it scares me a little, because it would be like having to leave home for the second time. But I live life like the video games I used to play as a kid: a new level to clear.”
The rest of ADP’s interview can be found in Issue #16 of Vanity Fair Italia, published today.
Our thanks to Steve Amoia for his assistance with the translation.
See also: Alessandro Del Piero Bares His Soul to ‘El Pais’, ADP’s Interview with Spanish newspaper ‘El País’.