The Italian Almanac

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Alessandro Del Piero

Italian Sport - January 12

Tributes have been pouring in for Alessandro Del Piero, after he became Juventus's all-time top-scorer Tuesday with a Coppa Italia hat-trick against Fiorentina. The strikes took Del Piero's goal tally up to 185, three more than the previous record-holder, 1950s Juve great Gianpiero Boniperti. They also helped the Turin outfit beat Fiorentina 4-1 and knock its bitter rival out off the Italian Cup.

"Historic Del Piero" read the front-page headline of sports newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport. Rome-based daily Corriere dello Sport crowned the player "King Del Piero". "Alessandro the Great" was the slogan at the top of an advert published in several dailies and paid for by his personal sponsor Adidas.

Del Piero managed to doggedly close in on the all-time Juventus scoring record despite an unusual handicap for a team captain - his coach was reluctant to play him. Last season the Italy star did a great deal of bench time and he has had few starts in this campaign because Capello prefers to field France's David Trezeguet and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden in attack. This despite the fact that, when called upon, the 31-year-old regularly finds the net.

The striker devoted the achievement to his wife, family and friends.