Coppa Italia. It was another spine chilling night at Turin and another mesmerizing performance from Juventus. The opposition was tough, the manner of victory was convincing. Roma's defense led by a Danish bloke, Simon Kjaer could only admire helplessly the sublime right & left foot of Del Piero and Giaccherini, the two goal scorers for Juventus. In microcosm, this perfect blend of youth & old, the plebian soul and the noble legends, under-rated and the established heroes - is paving the Bianconeri - the road to glory.
The work-rate of young players who are considered highly under-rated like Giaccherini, Vidal, Estigarribia and Lichtsteiner is driving the team forward. On the other hand, the established star of The Old Lady, who has still 'fire in the belly' is guiding the team towards a new height. This has merged to perfection, resulting in performance beyond expectations underpinned by a common denominator- hunger and more hunger for victory. The sublime feet of Giaccherini and the ceaseless goading of Del Piero stands out as the 'two-souls' of Juventus as noted by the Italian journalist Riccardo Prastesi.
A shrewd transfer policy was adopted by Juventus, the lurch in a fresh direction impressing. Surely, no one would welcome the names like Giaccherini, Vidal and Lichtsteiner, who had recent failures with their respective clubs; The Old Lady took the gamble of galvanizing their career, consequence in front of your eyes.
Surely, these bunch of 'second class' players who were thrown in the garbage few months back couldn't do anything better, right? Wrong.
Lichtsteiner, works tirelessly for the team. He doesn't have the guile and brilliance of Maicon or Motta, but he is indispensable to this Juventus side. The arrival of Martin Caceres will have improved the squad no doubt, but the young Swiss "Forest Gump" is irreplaceable at right back. He covers his technical deficiencies with his workaholic nature and a raw pace. Above all, his determination to get the better of opposition wingers is simply admirable. Vidal, defensive midfielder from Bayer Leverkusen, has arrived with a reputation of finding the net quite frequently. Like Lichtsteiner, he is a tireless runner and his physical presence in the middle helps playmakers like Pirlo or Marchisio to control the game with authority. And there is this Cesena lad called Giaccherini, who has the talent to become the heir of Di Livio, possess mesmerizing skill and deft touches. And he can score too (sometimes with epic fail!).
But the young players need guidance and inspiration. The senior guys at the club have taken that responsibility. The likes of Del Piero, Buffon and Pirlo are the perfect role-models for the newcomers at The Old Lady. The skipper scored a sensational goal against Roma helping his side reach the semi final and fix a date with arch rival AC Milan. But, his post match speech was even more inspiring. Any young Italian footballer with an ambition to play for Juventus will be buoyed by such lines. He said "If you had asked me to imagine my first goal in our new stadium, I would have thought so. It's amazing how everything that happens to me when I wear this shirt so special."
Buffon has been outstanding this season. An evergreen presence, now even the rigors para. Pirlo was thought to be an excess in the Milan armory. He came to Turin with loads of experience behind him. But even at his age, he has something to prove. He has to repay back the insult, ignominy and the humiliation. The insatiable hunger for glory seemed to rekindle just at the right time, fortunately for The Bianconeri.
Show me another example of a 32-year-old 'world-class' player, who can take pay-cuts just to prove that he still has lots of football left in him? Milan rejected him from their long term vision, Juventus didn't. There were critics who had doubts about his ability to gel with Marchisio. In the end, it turned out to be a consecrated force that steadied the ship of title-hunt for the ‘black and whites’.
The hairs have turned grey, wrinkles starting to appear below the eyes, the legs have slowed down a lot, but the vision, intelligent runs, sublime skills, and god-gifted passing abilities remained the same. Pirlo, holds the orchestra - sets the tune, controls the rhythm and fires the tempo of the game.
UEFA president Michel Platini said "Del Piero is the flag of Juve". With committed and hungry players like Buffon, Pirlo, Chiellini around him and a young bunch who has glint of fire in their eyes- hunger for victory and lifting trophies has never been so badly "craved" in Turin.
Follow Saikat Mandal on twitter @Saikat_SAnchor
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