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Could Juventus legend Del Piero be heading for the Premier League?

Juventus club president Andrea Agnelli has been an ever-present at the Juventus Arena in a remarkable season, in which the Old Lady has gone 32 games unbeaten.

Agnelli unquestionably brings an energy with his presence – as well as cutting a symbol of expectation. After all, for so long Juventus' success has been synonymous with the family's devotion and commitment to the club.

However, his apparent stroke of genius in appointing Juventus legend Antonio Conte as manager, and his astute business mind in constructing this fortress-to-be, will not be enough to paint him as the fans' talisman this season. That role belongs to the the club's iconic number 10, and Agnelli would not disagree.

In the 83rd minute against Lazio on Wednesday, after joining the field as a second half substitute, Allesandro Del Piero rolled back the years scoring a wonderful long-range free kick to clinch all three points in a 2-1 win that lifted Juventus to the top of Serie A – above historic rivals Milan.

Owners of certain Premier League sides would do well to echo half the passion exemplified by the Juve president as Federico Marchetti watched the ball find its way into his net for the second time of the evening. Agnelli blended with the mob, cheering as if Juventus had just won the Scudetto. This was a truly magical moment that will be talked about for years – Championship success permitting.

Best matchday experience: Juventus Arena, or the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster?

Somewhat ironically, the Juventus Arena is in line to host the Stadium Business awards, one award being 'Best Matchday Experience' – a title currently held by the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster.

If it wasn't for the unscrupulous financial activities of Juventus which cost the club a season out of the top tier, one could argue a case for this prize being awarded to Serie A's new leaders for the atmosphere their matchday produces, within the venue in which this is witnessed.

In fairness though, as far as Del Piero's talismanic status is concerned, the demotion to Serie B over payments to match officials was particularly poignant; despite considerable star player departures, Del Piero reaffirmed his loyalty and played a significant role in securing their immediate promotion.

With this he truly achieved hero status after over 500 appearances and becoming the club's all time leading scorer in 2008, before eventually going on to break the Turin club's Serie A appearance record in February last year.

At the end of the season Del Piero is out of contract and rumours are becoming increasingly more credible that this will be his final season at Juventus.

With the finesse and guile still evident from his various cameo appearances it is difficult to comprehend why Conte and Agnelli are not vying to secure his services for another year – especially when Sir Alex Ferguson is backing up his confidence in his own Golden Oldies, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

One would always be wise to be on same wavelength as the Premier League’s premier manager where appreciation is concerned.

Del Piero in the Premier League next season?

England has been touted as a possible destination for the Juve skipper, and what a fine addition he would make to any team, even if just for a season.

Surely at best August will be the start of his penultimate campaign and given his physical condition, abilities and ever-present joy on a football pitch, not to mention his experience, Del Piero would thrive in England's top tier – and would perform on a par with Ferguson's two 'favourite professionals'.

His legs will be slower, and his shot lacking its old potency. But the eye and foot for a pass is still there, and as we saw on Wednesday he can still curl a ball into the net from where the Italians have superbly named the ‘Del Piero Zone’ area of the pitch (30 yards from goal, off centre).

But what of the old 'Cold night in Stoke' syndrome, where these continental types are not famously forecasted to perform? Well for one, there is only a maximum of one of those in a minimum 40 game campaign, and maybe Valencia will have something to say about this particular cliché.

So as the talisman departs, Agnelli will continue as president and, with youth on his side, he will no doubt live to see who takes Del Piero's place as the team's shining light and inspirational hero on the pitch in the future.

There were many prior to Turin's adopted son; Roberto Baggio perhaps the most recent other.

The level of elation at the effect of one player is something Lazio have witnessed on a unique scale, and when the history of Juventus is reviewed in 100 years from now, Del Piero will be one of the first names mentioned.

By Adam Patterson


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