Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero believes this current crop of Bianconeri players has potential but have limits to overcome. The 47-year-old travelled to Villarreal ahead of Juve’s Champions League tie and spoke with Gazzetta dello Sport about his expectations for the team.
New striker Dusan Vlahovic is set to make his debut in the competition, as Del Piero did, against a side in ‘yellow’. On that night in 1995, Ale’ scored against Borussia Dortmund, so how does he see Dusan’s debut going?
I wish him a ‘Del Piero’ goal, like that time in Dortmund. But even a goal scored in another way is fine!
The team played badly against Torino, butI liked them against Atalanta, especially in the offensive phase. But to think that all the problems were solved after the January transfer market was definitely out of place.
There is still a long way to go, but I am not at all pessimistic. Vlahovic gives a verticality that was not there before and attacking combinations of the highest level. I’m sorry that Dybala is injured again, I would have insisted that Juve play the attacking trident.”
Juve’s season so far hasn’t been definitive, so what’s Del Piero’s idea of Juventus so far?
“It’s a team with high potential, but with obvious limits that must be overcome. In the last 4 years the number of points scored in the league has continually dropped, there will be a reason regardless of the coaches.
Overall, the quality of the team, especially in midfield, and before January, also in the attack, is not the same as in the great winning cycle. If you don’t have that, you have to compensate in some other way. With the game, but also and above all with the Juve mentality, which must always hungry.”
Vlahovic is still very young. so at what age does a center forward mature definitively?
If you are strong, age doesn’t matter. You must be born ready, if you are a champion.”
Is qualifying for the quarterfinals the minimum or maximum objective for this Juventus?
This team can never consider the quarterfinals as the maximum goal, without a doubt. If we look at the absolute value, Juve are clearly favorites in the second round. If we take the season into consideration, then the values are much more leveled. The mistake not to make is not being up to Villarreal in terms of aggression and rhythm. I will be at the stadium for Sky Sport and I expect a fiery climate.”
Paulo Dybala’s role in attack is often debated- He’s a second striker, do you agree?
He is a striker, first of all. As such, he must find himself in a position to shoot as often as possible, of touching important balls in attack, of trying to beat the last man and be at the center of the game. As a second striker, as a striker of the trident, the important thing is that he “sees” the goal.”
We are appointing you as justice of the peace in the possible ‘divorce’ between Paulo and Juve: would he do anything to convince them to move forward together?
I have already managed my own contracts, don’t make me think about those of others now…I can only say that I hope Paulo is well and can find continuity on the field – which he misses a lot – and that he can still give a lot to this shirt.”
You were part of one of the strongest tridents in Juve history. Do you remember how it was born?
We came about after the years of Milan’s domination. Lippi wanted a team that broke quickly in attack, that trident was revolutionary, not so much from a tactical point of view, which was also remarkable for how we occupied the spaces, but for what that choice wanted to convey: we come to attack you, always, in any case, for ninety minutes. The attackers played like wingers. That was the secret. Now, if they run and sacrifice so much for each other, it’s a solution that can work.”
As an ex-captain, do you think that De Ligt has already shown that he is a leader, despite his age, and that Juve should bind him to the club in order to make him the technical and temperamental heir of the ‘BBC’?
I don’t think there are any doubts: he was bought, and paid dearly, precisely for this.”