Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero compared the standing ovation he received in Madrid 2008 to winning a trophy.
The former Bianconeri captain joined Paulo Dybala for an Instagram live chat to discuss their career highlights, life in lockdown and their best goals.
Dybala: “I’m in Turin with Oriana, as you may have read. We have had symptoms, me more than her, not very strong. Mine have been longer than hers, they have prevented me from doing some things. For a couple of days we have been fine without symptoms, we started training again.
Del Piero: “I’m in Los Angeles with the kids, I had to come and see you in the Champions League. With the kids, I’m trying to make it all a game, in the meantime, we’re studying history books. It helps the imagination. … We have also started Spanish lessons.
Dybala: Do you speak with them in Italian or English?
DP: With them in Italian, but they do English at school. Now we’ll start a third language, in Los Angeles half of the people speak Spanish.
DY: I’ve been twice and I’ve seen that many speak Spanish
DP: “Life here is different, I often go back to Italy. It stays within us for a thousand reasons, but here I feel good. Things change, it may even be that we change too. I live in the hills, I am lucky to have a garden. It’s 100km north to south of Los Angeles, too today it’s raining.
DY: That’s why we did this Instagram direct.
DP: Its also April 10th today (both laugh ed.) However, it is difficult to stay indoors. You do something, but you have to have a goal, you have to go back to playing for example.
DY: I said it to Oriana, I miss going out to the pitch, I miss the locker room. I didn’t want to go out for anything else, not for shopping, even if she got angry.
DP: Do you feel that we could come back in late April?
DY: The desire that we all have must not push us to make the mistake of getting infected again. I think we need security to get started, for everyone, not just us players.
DP: We haven’t done the free-kick challenge, even through everyone asks us. Wshall we do it?
DY: It hasn’t been forgotten, there have been many things in between. But we’ll do it, we’ll put Buffon in goal.
DP: But let’s just shoot with our right feet.
DY: That’s not fair . You were also good with the left though!
DP: Let’s do ten and ten. By the way, your goal at Inter is an extraordinary one …
DY: That was nice, because the goalkeeper didn’t expect it. I have a question for you, though. How would you see yourself in today’s football?
DP: Football has changed a lot in communication. I started in an era where the reporters weren’t in the locker room. Now, everything has grown, as from an economic point of view. Already in my era there were differences compared to the first one. I started at a time when Italian football had precise, defensive and tactical characteristics, the English game was more physical… It was all more defined, now the coaches have mixed things. We have tried to improve details. Germany for example won a World Cup with incredible tactics, which they did not have before. I wish I could play again.
DY: It would be a pleasure for everyone.
DP: If you tell me let’s go play, I’ll go play.
DY: On a physical level, it has changed a lot, we run much more than we did before. I read that 30 years ago the maximum that a player did was 8 km, today we also do 12km.
DP: When I stopped, there were already these numbers. Everything changed with the goalkeeper’s. Everything is faster today. Once upon a time, there were three goals for a Serie A game, today ten, because you can’t waste time. There are fewer fouls today, there are more cameras, perhaps less spectacle, but more desire to score. There is more and more knowledge. Not to mention the staff. How many do you have now?
DY: We dress in black, they wear white. Sometimes, there are more people dressed in white than black. But they are all perfectly prepared, they know everything about us, how and what to prepare, not just for the game. I agree, because the job I have to do is different from what Chiellini or De Ligt has to do, they are aspects that make you improve, because otherwise I would waste time doing things that I don’t need.
DP: Yes, it’s different. But on free-kick’s, this can be seen up to a certain point …
DY: (laughs) We will see. That thing of the fouls you said you’re right. When I arrived in Palermo, Walter Samuel was still playing at Inter, you don’t know how many shots and punches he threw at me. If he played today, they would kick him out.
DP: Can you tell me that thing about the shirt? One day we wrote to each other, and you told me that you had lost my shirt …
DY: Yes, I knew there was one of your shirts at auction … I didn’t have yours, I absolutely had to have one. I signed Oriana up on the auction website so people wouldn’t know it was me. I made the offer, but on the website you don’t see the highest ones. You only get an email. Three days later, still nothing. At the last second of the auction, I was about to celebrate, but someone came in and offered €10 more than I did, right at the last second !!! When I found out I lost the shirt, I was extremely angry. In fact, I wrote to you immediately after.
DP: Let’s get you one then.
DY: We can do one better, we bet. Whoever wins the free-kick match receives the other’s shirt.
DP: How’s the family?
DY: Well, they were tested, but they turned out to be negative. In Argentina they were good at stopping everything immediately. They had learned from what happened in Italy, they already had in mind how it could go. Two more weeks and, as it seems, everything could return to normal. There is a quarantine, you cannot go out, otherwise you risk going to jail. They can sue you … But let’s read the questions … Who was your idol as a young man?
DP: I started with Platini, he was the Juventus ’10’. But in Serie A at the time there were many champions, Maradona, Zico …
DY: In Argentina, if there is only one game on television, from anywhere in the world, we watch it. Seeing football is always good.
DP: A question for you … Your favourite: Italian or Argentine food?
DY: Argentine asado, I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I like Italian pizza a lot, but in Palermo I always went to a very small trattoria facing the sea. There was never anyone and I ate spaghetti with lobster: I went every week. But then I had to go back home on foot to get rid of the calories!
DP: So when this period ends, I invite you to my restaurant in Milan, I know what to make you eat.
DY: Have you ever been to Argentina?
DP: Just once, for a football tour. We had to play two games, but in the end we only played against Velez. The stadium was all in wood, incredible. It was raining a lot. I remember that Rampulla was playing, he hit Torricelli in the back of the head, he nearly scored an own goal, we covered our faces so as not to laugh. I remember these three things here, it was summer and there was a heat … I never went again.
DY: You should come. I’ll make you an asado. I also have a football pitch, I invite a couple of friends.
DP: Now I ask you something that many ask: Boca or River?
DY: Look, there are many River fans who remember you well, that’s why they ask you. But I have been seven years with the team I grew up in, even going to the stadium and jumping around in the curva.
DP: It’s not Boca or the River, or is it?
DY: The Istituto de Cordoba. Many don’t know it, because they are often in Serie B.
DP: I did the same in Padua, even if it wasn’t Juve, the team I was cheering for.
DY: In Argentina it happens that you cheer for the big team and for that of your province. I liked Riquelme at Boca so much, but my team is Cordoba. Another question I read “What was your best goal for me and which was mine for you”. I have one…
DP: I also have two or three of them … If we talk about a technique, you scored a lot of them even around the far post, beautiful. But the one against Inter, for completeness, is perhaps the most beautiful. There have been others who have been great technical goals, this one is complete though, from control, to one two, to shooting …
DY: I went a little bit for the technique, your ‘Gold di Del Piero’…… if I had to choose one, I would take them all. But your goal at Fiorentina, from outside the goalkeeper, I don’t know how you managed to score it.
DP: Me neither (laughs). But it’s also my favorite, because it’s different. But, you know me very well … there was a little luck too. I was undecided whether to stop it and then shoot, but there was the defender, so I thought about shooting.
DY: And all in two seconds, it’s incredible. When they ask us what we think when we score, they don’t understand, because everything happens in a short time.
DP: And the less you think, the better. Its instinct that makes you do things faster. You got it right on my most beautiful goal. And me, did i get yours right (goal v Inter)?
DY: The other day they asked me and that came to mind, because it’s complete. That was a goal with many factors. Unfortunately, there were no fans to experience that important moment.
DP: I have never played an official game in an empty stadium. How was it?
DY: It’s nice to have the fans, but when I enter the pitch I always try to isolate myself. You hear some whistles, some “chants”, but when you play you don’t hear it. When you enter the field, however, you see its empty and its strange: when I entered the field, however, as you told me once, I had already turned on the switch …. That time in Madrid that you came off to the applause, was it more beautiful for the victory or for the ovation?
DP: In Madrid they are always hard judges, but going off to the applause was like winning a trophy for me. My best free-kick goal? Maybe the one in that game, for the importance. But tell me your best free-kick goal?
DY: Here at Juve I had the opportunity to score a few, if I have to find one, the one against Atletico was both beautiful and important. When I approached Pjanic, I told him i would shoot on goal. He replied “Pull it down so someone deflects it.” I wanted to pull up though, there was no room. Either it goes in curves or goes under the intersection. And Oblak is also strong, like Ter Stegen.
DP: Did you score against Ter Stegen?
DY: Two. Do you know who I missed? Gigi…
DP: I am a very strong goalkeeper …
DY: Have you scored goals against important goalkeepers?
DP: I scored against Gigi before he came to Juve. There were many strong goalkeepers, Peruzzi, Pagliuca, Antonioli … We have a great tradition of goalkeepers. Argentina less true? More attackers?
DY: Together with Brazil, we have always been the most constant. After Maradona, Leo Messi has arrived, it will be difficult to find another one, but we hope…
DP: And Leo is not exactly an attacker.
DY: He has incredible numbers, even without needing to play a role. Now, however, there is a need to win an important trophy, we hope to do it next year, if we play the Copa America. Now is the time to say goodbye Ale … It was a pleasure as always, there were 50,000 logged on to watch this chat, we filled a stadium.
DP: I have to say goodbye in Spanish now …