Like those of any sports team that has decades of glory behind it, the annals of Juventus are full of champions, of champions who have made the history not only of the black and white jersey but also of Italian and world football.
The most successful team in Italy, the first in history to win all the trophies offered by UEFA and the only one to have won at least once all those available, the Juventus team certainly has a present and a future of everything respect, but also a past that makes us proud.
For this reason, it is particularly difficult to select only five champions who deserve to be included in the list of the most representative of all time; partly because too often we forget about those of the past, about the players – such as Ferrari, Orsi, Monti, Combi, Rosetta or Caligaris – who made Juve great in the 1930s, and partly because today, with a football increasingly influenced by the economy, it is rare to find players who manage to become “flags” as in the past.
However, let’s try to identify the five players that we believe we can define as the most historic of Juventus.
A flag in the field and behind the desk
We can only start from him, from Giampiero Boniperti, that is, from the only man in Juventus history who was a true flag both on the pitch and off the pitch.
Born in the province of Novara in 1928, he arrived at Juventus in 1946, after the war just ended, and already that year made his debut in Serie A, immediately impressing and managing to score even 5 goals in 6 games. The starting center forward, that year, was the veteran Silvio Piola, while the championship began to be dominated by what was already the Grande Torino.
In any case, Boniperti managed to win the starting shirt already in 1947, at the age of 19, a shirt that he would never leave for 14 seasons.
The early days were very prolific: his personal record was set in 1948, with 27 goals, also became the top scorer of the championship and earned his first call-up to the national team, but starting from the mid-1950s he began to scoreless and retreat his position, also due to the arrival in the team of important teammates that we will talk about very soon.
In terms of titles, his Juventus managed to emerge only after the Superga tragedy, winning the Scudetto in 1950 and 1952; this good period was followed by a fast of 6 seasons – which were dominated by the Milanese teams plus the surprising Fiorentina – until a new title arrived in 1958, the tenth for the club, and the coveted star. Then came two other championships and two Italian Cups before retiring in 1961.
His career in the national team was of little significance, given that our team achieved mediocre results throughout the 1950s, but Boniperti definitely made up his mind as a manager: president of the team from 1971 to 1990 and then CEO until 1994, he led his Juventus. to the conquest of other 9 league titles, 2 Italian Cups, 1 European Cup, 2 UEFA Cups, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup and an Intercontinental Cup.
The quarrelsome and unforgettable Argentine champion
In the same years in which Boniperti wore the captain’s armband and acted as an attacking midfielder, a new striker, this time a foreigner, conquered the hearts of the Juventus fans: it was Omar Sívori, probably the strongest Argentine player of all time before the arrival of two inhuman champions like Diego Armando Maradona and Leo Messi.
Born in 1935 near Buenos Aires to a family of Italian origins (his grandfather was Genoese, his grandmother from Abruzzo), Sívori grew up in the River Plate, winning his first important success in the South American championship at a very young age.
Purchased by Juve at just 21 years old, he arrived in Turin in 1957 and immediately formed, with the aforementioned Boniperti and with the Welsh John Charles, a fantastic attacking trio for versatility and power, immediately renamed the magic trio.
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With the bianconeri Sívori immediately showed all his strengths and weaknesses: in 8 seasons he scored 135 goals, a very important figure for a number 10, embellished by the record of 28 goals in 31 games in 1959/60.
At the same time, however, in his career in Italy (which later also continued with Napoli) he managed to get 33 days of disqualification due to his quarrelsome temperament, which often led him to quarrel with opponents, referees, and even with his teammates (legendary a slap from Charles, the “gentle giant”, annoyed by the provocations of his department colleague towards his opponents).
He was very skilled in dribbling both with the ball and with the body, so much so that he was said to be able to avoid even the foul attempts of his opponents, who in those years were rather rough.
With the bianconeri he won three championships and three Italian Cups and, above all, he won the Ballon d’Or in 1961, the first awarded to a Serie A player. As a native, he also played a few games in the Italian national team, participating in the 1962 World Cup.
The veteran goalkeeper
Often, to leave their mark in the hearts of the fans, are the numbers 10, and in fact, in our list, there are even three (even if Boniperti also played a good part of his career as a pure center forward); in an Italian team that, by tradition, has often made the defense an important weapon, however, some representatives of the back department cannot be missing.
Two, in particular, had a very long and successful career in Juventus, also crowned by an incredible series of international awards: we are talking about Dino Zoff and Gaetano Scirea, united for many years in the direction of the Juventus defense.
Zoff was born in the province of Gorizia in 1942 and arrived at Juventus quite late: in fact, he spent the first years of his career with another black and white shirt, that of Udinese, in whose youth teams he had grown up; then, four years in Mantua, then in Serie A, and five in Naples, also winning the blue jersey and immediately becoming the owner during the tournament that saw us win the first (and so far only) European championship.
This is how Juventus bought him in 1972 when he was already thirty: no one expected that he would play eleven seasons in Juventus, filling his personal showcase with very important titles.
With the Turin team he won six league titles, two Italian Cups, and one UEFA Cup, failing to win the Champions Cup (one of his last matches was the final against Hamburg in 1983) which instead would have been posted on the bulletin board a few years after his retirement.
His career was, however, very important even away from the Juventus posts: in the national team, he was captain for a long time and made 112 appearances on the scoresheet (he was the first to cross the finish line of 100 matches in blue), leading his team, as a protagonist, to conquer the 1982 World Cup.
After retiring, he became a coach, being hired by Juve in 1988: despite the bad period for the Turin club, he won a double with the Italian Cup and the UEFA Cup, however being replaced at the end of his second season.
Married to Lazio, he conquered a series of excellent placings, later becoming the president of the company. In 1998 he was called to lead the national team, which led to a sensational European that was interrupted only in extra time in the final against France.
The champion disappeared too soon
The other great defender of Juventus history is Gaetano Scirea. In fact, there have been many players who have made the history of the Juventus rearguard, such as Antonello Cuccureddu, Claudio Gentile, Antonio Cabrini or, more recently, Ciro Ferrara, Paolo Montero, Gianluigi Buffon, and Lilian Thuram, but few can boast the merits and the human charisma of Gaetano Scirea, a champion – as they say – both on and off the pitch.
Born in Cernusco Sul Naviglio in 1953 from a family of Sicilian origins, Scirea grew up in the Atalanta nursery, making his debut with the Nerazzurri in Serie A in 1972; he had arrived at Juve two seasons later, at just 21 years of age, immediately earning the starting shirt in the role of free player both in the league and in Europe, interpreting his role in a very innovative way, among other things.
Scirea, in fact, in his youth had played first as a winger and then as an attacking midfielder, thanks to a good speed in the race and excellent geometries: he had brought all these skills to the field even as an adult, proving to be a free man capable of setting the counterattack and of get up to the limits of the opponent’s penalty area.
With the black and white jersey he played for 14 straight seasons, winning 7 league titles, 2 Italian Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 European Cup, and 1 Intercontinental Cup.
Equally full of satisfaction was also his career in the national team, in which he made his debut as early as 1975: considered the heir of Facchetti for leadership and refinement, he made 78 appearances and was a starter at the World Cup in Spain which saw the team triumph.
Retired in 1988, he immediately took his license in Coverciano and was hired by Boniperti as assistant to Dino Zoff on the bench.
Precisely during this adventure, in September 1989 he went to Poland to see Górnik Zabrze, a team that Juventus would then have to face in the first round of the UEFA Cup: the journey was fatal to him, because the car he was traveling in, driven by a local driver, was hit by a truck and caught fire.
So Scirea died at just 36 years old, after an incredible career, full of successes and never tainted by any red card.
Alessandro Del Piero
The player with the most appearances and the most goals for Juventus
We arrive at the last of the list, that is the most recent but perhaps at the same time the greatest of all and also the most loved: Alessandro Del Piero. Born in Conegliano, in the province of Treviso, in 1974, he grew up in the Padua youth academy, making his debut in Serie B at the age of 17.
Purchased by Juventus as early as 1993 to be added to the Primavera, he began to play more and more often with the first team coached by Giovanni Trapattoni, scoring 5 goals already in his debut season. In 1994, with the arrival of Marcello Lippi on the bench, Del Piero found more space, effectively becoming the owner of the attack that would have won the tricolor.
Decisive was an extraordinary goal to Fiorentina which sanctioned a sensational comeback and the injury to Roberto Baggio, which allowed him to have no rivals for many weeks.
The following year, the club sold Baggio, making him the number 10 owner at just 20 years old, and “Pinturicchio” repaid his trust by inventing the “Del Piero-style goal” in the Champions League and dragging the team to the final against Ajax. , then won on penalties.
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His career continued at a very rapid pace until 1998, with a year of 32 total goals and the Oscar as the best Italian footballer, before running into a very bad injury on 8 November 1998 that kept him off the pitch for 9 months and plunged the team even to seventh place in the standings.
Back on the pitch, he lived two seasons of poor performance, marked by two-second places in the league, until Lippi’s return to the bench brought the team back to win in Italy and fight for the European Cups.
In 2006 he won the World Cup by scoring a goal in the semifinal against Germany and one of the penalties in the final, but he was relegated to Serie B due to the Calciopoli scandal: he remained with the team along with other champions such as Trezeguet, Buffon, and Nedved, helping them to return promptly to Serie A and then to the Champions League.
He left the Juventus team – not without the regrets of the fans – in 2012, after 19 seasons, 705 appearances, and 290 goals in all competitions. The Palmares are impressive: 6 Italian championships (plus two revoked), an Italian Cup, 1 Champions League, 1 Intercontinental Cup, a title of top scorer in Serie A, and one of top scorer in the Champions League, as well as six football Oscars.
In 2012 he accepted offers from Sydney FC, going to play for a couple of seasons in Australia, before moving on to play a championship in India, in Delhi Dynamos.
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