Straight from the dark heart of Italy
It’s a long way from Rimini to the Bernabeu but for Juventus the trip, in the end, has been worth it.17-months ago and the Old Lady started out kicking her heels in Serie B at the Italian resort town and now they are running all over the “great” Real Madrid in their own back yard; something they hadn’t achieved for 46 years.Alessandro Del Piero, who wasn’t even in the top 10 of FourFourTwo’s Best Players in the World despite finishing last season as Serie A top goalscorer, even received a standing ovation from the locals after scoring twice.
Sep 2006: Juve trundle out at Rimini for Serie B baptism
If memory serves correctly, wasn’t Ronaldinho the last visiting player to be applauded off the pitch at the Bernabeu?Ale has now scored four goals in the Champions League group stages this season – three against Real alone – and each of them an absolute gem.Iker Castillas, apparently the best goalkeeper in the world although we all know that he’s just keeping the gloves warm until Gigi Buffon is fit again, was left confused, flat-footed and as still-like as a lump of marble by the little man’s delightful free-kick for the second.Juventus had targeted the home defence along with Diarra and Guti as the weak links and so it proved.Del Piero left Fabio Cannavaro on the seat of his pants for most of the evening while Mohamed Sissoko swatted the Real midfield about like a playful kitten, even Tiago looked a different class.
Del Piero offers fellow countryman Cannavaro commiserations
Superlatives aplenty then in the Italian press.“Alex Galattico,” hailed Tuttosport. There was a matador thrown in there as well.La Gazzetta dello Sport crowned the veteran, “The King of Spain.”Here’s a good one from Tuttosport again.“Alex is better than Maradona.” A statement of fact rather than ‘please discuss.’ The Argentine was there, of course, looking like a chubby Bono in rock-star shades, and no doubt approving of what he saw although probably not with the above declaration.For many, it’s like saying that Cristiano Ronaldo is better than George Best but anyone with a idle moment and wishing to mull over this weighty issue can peruse Del Piero’s Juventus career statistics at their leisure:573 appearances over 16 seasons, 248 goals for the club, 46 goals in the Champions League.
Del Boy wheels away after silencing the Bernabeu
All this adoration falling on his broad shoulders, and one of his secrets to such longevity – he’ll be 34 on Sunday – has been a personalised fitness regime.The man behind the man is one Giovanni Boncorre, Ale’s personal trainer. He’s into Dyna Biopsy, which seems to involve a lot of charts recording physical activity over short intense, bursts, and having to get up very early.“He usually start around 8am, depending on what the club have lined up for training,” revealed Boncorre. “A professional athlete or the man on the street can follow this method – both will see positive results.”Hope for us all then although Bonocore didn’t mention if all that corporeal effort would improve our free-kicks down the park.
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