"Like Two Different Sports": Alessandro Del Piero on the Status of Serie A
When it comes to Italian football, there are few voices as qualified to speak up as that of Alessandro Del Piero. Pinturicchio, as former Juventus president Gianni Agnelli called him, is the player with the second-most Serie A appearances for La Vecchia Signora, with 478 matches. In an interview with Italian newsapeper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Del Piero spoke about the situation of the league.
"I am convinced that the return of champions like Lukaku and Pogba will increase the quality of Serie A and will be good for the whole of Italian football", said Del Piero, who represented the Italian national team at three FIFA World Cups and four UEFA European Football Championships.
The former Juventus man is aware that Serie A is far from the world's top leagues right now. "Now the Premier League is the best football you can see in terms of the number of teams that can perform at a high level, just look at what happened in the Champions League and in the Europa League. The difference is great, at certain times they almost seem like two different sports: in the Premier League you run more, you have more physicality and more spectacle".
Serie A has notably fallen in terms of quality from the 1990s and 2000s, when the world's top stars fought over a spot in the likes of AC Milan, Inter and Juventus, an even smaller clubs like Lazio, Parma or Roma. "It has happened, both in international competitions for clubs and for the national team, excluded from the World Cup twice in a row", said Del Piero on the slide of Italy's place in world football. "However, it is possible to get up again and Roma's victory in the Conference League against Feyenoord must be taken as an example".
Alessandro Del Piero played for Juventus between 1993 and 2012, managing 715 appearances for the Bianconeri, and scoring 290 goals. He was one of the few that remained loyal after Juventus' relegation in 2006 following the Calciopoli scandal. Del Piero won the Serie A in six ocassions with Juventus, as well as a Coppa Italia in 1994-95 and the Champions League in 1995/96.
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