I have been reading the forums for quite a while, and am continually enraged by the quite unfair and outrageous slander against Alex. For this reason i have finally been compelled to show Del Piero in a proper light. I will state now that I am a Juventus fan and have been for nearly 17 years, pre Del Piero and Baggio times. I mention Baggio because it is he who Del Piero is most often compared against, not only because Del Piero replaced Baggio at Juventus, but because their playing styles and the way the engaged the fans were similar. Baggio is arguably the greatest Italian player of all time. He is a talent that Italy will probably never be able to reproduce again. Del Piero was simply the man who had the great misfortune of being the player that all Azzuri fans expected to take over from Baggio. Having said that, he is still a player that had an extraordinary amount of talent, who despite a horrendous injury, is a player worthy of our praise and admiration. Nobody will argue with the fact that pre injury, Del Piero was the best player in the world along with Ronaldo. His battle with Roni in the 97/98 Scudetto race is one that will be remembered for years. That season Del Piero scored 21 goals in Serie A, his highest ever tally, assisting most of Pippo Inzaghi's 18 goals, creating the highest scoring Serie A partnership of all time. That season Alex also scored 10 goals in the Champions League, a record in its original format. The Juventus team that lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid that May was clearly missing their inspirational number 10, who missed most of the game through injury. That injury was to hamper his leadup to the World Cup, in which he performed fairly well, creating chances when he came on against Cameroon while setting up Vieri's goal against Austria. Just as he was finding his feet in the tournament, Italy lost to eventual winners France in a penalty shootout. It was after the World Cup that Del Piero was cut down in his prime, snapping all four ligaments in his knee in the last minutes of a game against Udinese. He would be out for almost 9 months recovering, eventually returning without the quickness of feet and mobility he used to have. Considering the extent of his injury, it is unrealistic to think otherwise. He has had to overcome this and adapt to a new style of playing, the fruit of this coming in Juventus' scudetto winning years of 01/02 and 02/03, with Del Piero netting 16 goals in each campaign. The last season and a half Alex has had to overcome more injury issues with his calf injuries hampering his promising start to last year. Back to the Baggio comparison. Del Piero's record for winning trophies is better than Baggio's. He has won 5 Scudetti, 1 Italian Cup, 2 Super Cups, 1 European Cup, Intercontinental Cup and the European Super Cup. Baggio's record here pales into insignificance with only a handful of domestic titles and 1 Uefa Cup to his name. Their goalscoring records provide quite surprising reading however. The 10 years since Del Piero entered the Serie A scence he played 246 games for 100 goals. Baggio played 240 for 101. For such u supposedly underperforming player his record is nearly equal to one of Italy's greatest. Internationally, Del Piero has scored 24 in 67 caps, Baggio 27 in 56. Not too bad for someone who supposedly doesn't perform in an Azzuri shirt. There will be some that will argue that statistics don't mean ********. That Del Piero fails in the big games. Apart from the Euro 2000 final, Alex has actually performed well in major games. He scored in the 97 Champions League final against Dortmund, scored the winner against River in the Intercontinental Cup, while also netting important goals in Champions League semi fianls against Monaco in 97/98 and Real Madrid in 02/03. Internationally he has also scored important goals including the goal against Hungary that put Italy into the 2002 World Cup and also against Mexico to ensure Italy's passage through to the second round in that tournament. Hopefully you will see now that Del Piero is not as bad as some of you may think. He is a player with an impressive record domestiaccly and on the European and World Stage and will be remembered as such: One of Juve's greatest son's, and to date Italy's 6th highest goalscorer of all time.