The worst kept secret at Juventus, well at least up until this week, was that this season would be the last for the Bianconeri’s legendary captain Alessandro del Piero. The 36 year old will say goodbye to a team he has served for nearly two decades and hopefully the clubs is planning a bit more pomp and circumstance then we have seen so far.
Earlier today, club president Andrea Agnelli announced at a shareholders meeting that 2012 would, in fact, be the final season for one of the greatest players in the club’s storied history. And after first trying to imagine a Juventus without del Piero and thinking of all he has accomplished for the Old Lady, I couldn’t help but question the way in which this news came about.
Now I am not one who often thinks clubs owe special treatment to their best players. Obnoxiously large paychecks are usually enough thanks in my eyes. But I can not help but feeling del Piero’s is somehow different. Besides breaking numerous records and hoisting just about every trophy imaginable, del Piero stuck by the club and its fans through some of its darkest hours. I guess I just would have felt better with an announcement a bit less impersonal. For one thing, this gives the impression that Agnelli is making this decision without del Piero, and what good can that do?
Frankly, I am disappointed with Agnelli. The captain deserves to be the one to make this announcement on his terms. And if he doesn’t agree with this decision, he has earned the right to say so and the right to earn another 12-month contract with his play this season. This type of news should have come from the lips of a tearing and nostalgic del Piero, in front of the media and the fans who have loved him all these years, not from a club president behind a podium.
So my advice to Agnelli is to correct this before the captain leaves. He deserves a grandest of ceremony and the most spectacular of testimonials. He deserves a microphone to say what he likes and for his name to be sung up to rafters one last time.