As counter-intuitive as it might feel, Alessandro Del Piero’s clinching goal in the 2006 World Cup semi-final is both representative of his quality and unrepresentative of his career.

The Italian forward didn’t need to lift the ball into the top corner of Jens Lehmann’s net in the final minute of extra-time.

Time was up, and Fabio Grosso had won the game for Italy – the final whistle would surely blow before Germany had any chance to get the ball down the other end – but that didn’t really matter, did it?

Del Piero achieved a great deal during his time with Juventus, taking over as the club’s top scorer in that same year, and left the Italian giants holding the record by more than 100 goals – a margin which still exists to this day.

However, his presence as an effective one-club man – there were a couple of seasons elsewhere in his teens and late 30s – and some relatively late achievements in an Italy shirt means he perhaps only now gets the wider plaudits he ought to have earned during his playing career. Continue reading

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