By Anthony Bartolo
Juventus… the greatest club in the history of Italian football and one of the top clubs in the world.
The Bianconeri have won numerous prestigious national as well as international titles. The club is also known as the place where dozens, even hundreds of great footballers were born. Amongst all the Juve players, the following are my favourites – in no particular order except for the number 1 spot…. Pinturicchio Alex!
Alessandro Del Piero
Pinturicchio. This nickname arose when former president Gianni Agnelli compared the emerging talent Del Piero to the renaissance artist Pinturicchio, who was the student of the great Italian renaissance artist Rafaello, a nickname he had used to describe Baggio, to emphasise his elegance on the ball. There is no other player who deserves the title as the best Juventus player of all time other than Alessandro Del Piero.
Until now, the forward holds the all-time records as the player with the most appearances and goals for Juventus. During his nineteen year career at Juventus, Del Piero scored 289 goals in 785 appearances. He was also captain of this team for eleven years. Before moving to Sydney FC, Alex helped Juventus win eight Serie A titles, one Champions League title, and many other prestigious trophies. C’è solo un capitano!
David Trezeguet is a deadly target-man from France who became the main source of goals for Juve for ten years, from 2000 to 2010. In 300 appearances, Trezeguet scored 171 goals in total. This record makes Trezegol the highest scoring foreign players in Juventus’ history. His greatest achievement was in the 2000-2001 season where David helped his team win the Italian league as well as winning individual awards as the top scorer and best player in Serie A.
The best goalkeeper in the world and arguably the best EVER! So far, Buffon has the sixth most appearances for the club of all time. The rankings are still very likely to continue to rise because Buffon is still actively playing as the goalkeeper of La Vecchia Signora. Since joining Juventus in 2001, Gigi has won seven Serie A titles for his club. He is also a world champion! This year, the Juventus goalkeeper, 38, set a new league record of 973 minutes before being beaten – when he was eventually beaten by a penalty in the league leaders’ 4-1 win over derby rivals Torino.
Juve were lucky to have players like Nedved. The Czech Republic player was transferred from Lazio in 2001, and he played a vital role in helping the Old Lady dominate Italian football during that period. Nedved is a versatile midfielder of immense quality. He can be played as a winger, placed behind the striker, or positioned as a defensive midfielder. He also quite often scored with his trademark cannonata from outside the penalty box.
Few players from the United Kingdom have achieved great success in the Italian Football League. John Charles is one of the few examples of such players. Although he only played five seasons for Juventus, joining the club after making his mark at Leeds United, the striker scored 109 goals from 186 appearances and he helped his team win three Serie A titles.
Charles never got cautioned or sent off in his entire career, and was subsequently nicknamed Il Gigante Buono (The Gentle Giant). What a man!
Currently, Boniperti holds the record as the third highest scorer of all time for Juventus. The striker who played for La Vecchia Signora from 1946 to 1961 is also listed as 11th highest scorer in Serie A of all time.
Boniperti spent his entire career as a professional footballer with Juventus and won five League titles and two Coppa Italia titles.
During his career, Baggio was a very creative player who usually played as an attacking midfielder or second striker. Recruited from Fiorentina for a considerably high transfer fee in 1990, Baggio quickly shone with Juventus. Bobby won an Italian League title, a UEFA Cup and a Coppa Italia for this team. He also was named the world’s best player in 1993 before being transferred to AC Milan in 1995. Baggio is known as Il Divin Codino (The Divine Ponytail), for the hairstyle he wore for most of his career, for his talent, and for his Buddhist beliefs.
Zizou came to Juve in 1996. The move brought a marked increase in visibility and expectations, but Zidane proved he was up to the challenge by steering Juventus to an Italian Super Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a pair of Series A titles over the next two seasons.
He became an irreplaceable figure at Juventus throughout the late 90s to early 2000s, before eventually being transferred to Real Madrid. In total, Zidane played for Juventus for 212 times and scored 31 goals. Just last night, he led Real Madrid to the final of the 2016 UEFA Champions League having managed the club for a few months. His successes on the pitch will inevitably be equaled in the dugout.
Scirea is a retired sweeper who spent 14 years of his career as a professional footballer with Juventus. He was a very essential figure for this club. Scirea is one of the classiest defenders the world has ever seen and master of the catenaccio style, a super defensive football tactic that became the trademark of the 1982 World cup winning Italian team.
During his career at Juventus, Scirea managed the impressive feat of winning every UEFA Club and domestic competition during his time at the club (7 Serie A titles, 2 Italian Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 European Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, and 1 Intercontinental Cup). With the Italian national team, he won the 1982 World Cup.
Sadly, Scirea passed away in 1989 aged only 36. RIP capitano!
Along with John Charles and Giampiero Boniperti, Sivori formed a deadly trident of Juventus strikers in the period of 1950 to 1960. The footballer who played for two different national teams (Argentina and Italy) also had a very high goal ratio compared to other Juventus attackers. In 259 appearances, he scored 174 goals. He also won 3 Italian Leagues and 2 Coppa Italia’s.
Omar is considered one of the best pure dribblers ever.
Does his body position in the image remind you of anyone? A certain Paulo Dybala springs to mind…
Dino Zoff is regarded by many as one of the most consistent goalkeepers the world has ever seen. Over 11 years playing for La Vecchia Signora, Dino Zoff was capped 479 times for Italy. He also led Juventus to six Serie A championships and helped the Italian national team win the Euro 1968 and World Cup in 1982 (aged 40!).
After his retirement, Zoff made a successful career as a coach for various clubs, namely Juventus, Lazio over two spells, Lazio, Fiorentina and the Italy national team. Two years ago, Zoff published his Italian autobiography Dura Solo un Attimo la Gloria (Glory only Lasts a Moment).
Le Roi Michel is one of the best Juventus players of all time. The attacking midfielder became a dominant figure in the team during the period of 1982 to 1987. Platini contributed a lot of memorable goals, assists, and trophies to Juventus. He won the Serie A title in 1984 and 1986, the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984, the 1984 European Super Cup, the European Cup in 1985 and the 1985 Intercontinental Cup.
Platini finished top scorer in Serie A for three consecutive seasons (1982–83, 1983–84, and 1984–85), and won a hat-trick of European Footballer of the Year awards (1983 through 1985). He was also voted Player of the Year by World Soccer Magazine in 1984 and 1985.
The list is by no means complete. Juve can boast a vast array of other great players such as Tacconi, Brady, Cabrini, Gentile, Ibra, Vialli, Tardelli, Furino, Conte, Salvadore, Altafini, Anastasi, Bettega, Rossi, Boniek, Cannavaro, Causio, Haller, Laudrup, Thuram, Pirlo, Marchisio, and the list goes on…
The future? Well, hopefully, super Paul Pogba. Check out the star in this FibraFootball compilation:
About the author:
Anthony Bartolo, born in Malta in 1964, is currently an Engineering Lecturer at MCAST, having spent the previous nine years as the General Manager of AIS Technology Ltd. Anthony is a die-hard Juventus supporter and has a passion for football. When he’s not shouting at Juve from his sofa, you are likely to find him reading war books, playing war games or watching interesting documentaries.