Del Piero: «11 finals await us»
The Captain, who held a long press conference today, sounded the charge. And spoke about everything: from the team’s current period to the team of the future, from his performances to the European Championships, plus the record he looks set to break soon, for the highest number of games played in the history of the Club.
The rallying cry: balance. «At this point of the season we mustn’t be too content or too relaxed. A balance is needed. Only that can give us the strength we need».
Eleven finals. «Knowing Fiorentina’s and AC Milan’s worth, a four or five point advantage doesn’t allow us to say we are safe in our position. The points we earned at Genoa were crucial. This is the time to step on the accelerator and for us these last 11 games must be like 11 cup finals».
Sufficient stamina. «Only by going on the pitch will we know if we still have enough stamina to reach the last hurdle. We only have one game to play midweek before the end of the season, so we’ll have all the time to recover after every match and not only under a physical point of view».
Assessment postponed. «It’s not time to make any final assessment yet, not even about future objectives. We must only concentrate on getting the most we can from each match; basically we must always try and win. I would never sign for any objective beforehand; I want to play my cards until the very end. For 16 years I’ve aimed for the top and I’ve achieved it».
Which Europe? «Playing to get into the Champions League or the UEFA Cup are two different things: not only in financial terms, but due to the two competitions’ different appeal. Nowadays, the UEFA Cup is like a mini-Champions League, but it’s worth fighting to get into the more glamorous tournament».
League still open. «We lost seven out of nine possible points in seven days; it wasn’t all our own fault and that’s a real shame. But Inter Milan lost five points in just a few matches too. Aiming for the best result also means hoping we can get to second place. That’s why I’m rooting for Roma do very well in the Champions League and a little less well in the League».
Starting again against Napoli. «Memories about the last game against them are fading, but we’ll have to try and use it as extra motivation. There are three important points up for grabs and playing at home must be a decisive factor. I’m sorry about Zalayeta’s injury. I score often against Napoli? I hope to continue this time also».
John Elkann’s visit. «Yesterday we talked about the team’s moment. He confirmed how close the Club is to us now, I told him the atmosphere is good and that we have important games ahead of us, from which we want to get the most».
Juventus’ future. «Over the years we’ve kept our strengths, such as our determination and our will to win. I’d begin from these foundations for the future too. We’re aware something’s amiss, but understanding what and doing something about it is a little harder. Some excellent new signings and more faith in ourselves could help».
Personal assessment. «It’s too early for a personal assessment too. My objectives are definitely clear and only some of them depend entirely on me. I want to keep giving my best, with determination and with a strong desire to play. And then I still hope I can take part in the European Championships».
Chasing Euro 2008. «It mustn’t become an obsession. I spoke with Donadoni before he named the last squad. He wants answers from the pitch and I know I can give them to him. Only by playing well will I reach both mine and Juventus’ objectives. Everything depends on these last few matches. I’m aware I’ve had a wonderful season until now and I want to finish it off even better. And then Donadoni will have all the freedom to choose the set-up he feels is more appropriate. The only thing I need to do is to continue playing like I am».
Change of attitude. «Thanks to what I achieved last year and what I’m achieving this year, I think I made a lot of people change their attitude towards me. I responded well to criticism; not only from the press, but from others in the business too. That’s why I can only be pleased. Only the facts can determine certain situations and if you get positive results there’s more enthusiasm».
Many decisive aspects. «A lot of different aspects are conditioning the end result. The way I’ve trained is only one of them. The others are analyzing the games I played, eating well and also being happy with my family».
An icon regardless of stats. «In just a few games I’ll reach Scirea’s number of games played? Statistics are important and they must be emphasized. It’ll be a proud moment when I equal such a champion, who made history regardless of his stats. Just like others, such as Boniperti and Furino. Then there are players who hold no records but are in people’s hearts, like Platini for example. Trophies won, how you play, how you behave – these are the things that count. And under this point of view, I hope I can imitate Scirea, Boniperti and the others».
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