Italy's most illustrious
substitute Alessandro Del Piero could make his 700th
professional club appearance on Saturday when joint leaders
Lazio and Juventus clash at the Olympic Stadium.
Both teams have 22 points although Juventus, who defend
Serie A's only unbeaten record, have played 10 games to Lazio's
Del Piero has played only a bit part this season, the
36-year-old often making late cameo appearances as coach Antonio
Conte rebuilds the side following two successive seventh-place
The former Italy forward, who played 103 times for his
country, made his first 14 club appearances with Padova in 1992
but the rest have been with Juve.
Only Paolo Maldini, with 859 appearances, has played more.
Del Piero, who announced this week that he intends to move
at the end of the season, said he had mixed emotions.
"I suffer on the bench but as captain I am delighted with
the good run of form by the team," he told reporters.
"It's such a great time with Juventus at the top of Serie A
that I don't see why I should think about my future right now."
Juve are enjoying their best start to a season since the
Calciopoli match-fixing scandal when they were stripped of the
2005 and 2006 titles and relegated to Serie B.
Both teams were eager to play down the importance of
Lazio are also wary of a re-run of last season when they led
the table early before fading to finish fifth.
"We don't want to repeat last season's mistakes when in the
period when we were leading we talked too much," said midfielder
"It's an important match but we don't want to talk about
title-deciders. It's only November so it's too soon."
Edoardo Reja's team have been less than thrilling in some
matches and were lucky to come away from Napoli last week with a
Another draw would open the way for AC Milan or Udinese, who
are one point behind, to go top.
Champions Milan, who have taken 16 points from their last
18, are at home to Chievo on Sunday and Udinese host AS
Roma on Friday.
Napoli follow their epic 2-1 Champions League win over
Manchester City by visiting Atalanta on Saturday.
With little strength in depth in their squad, coach Walter
Mazzarri said they could be vulnerable following their exertions
Napoli will also be facing Serie A top scorer German Denis
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