There was a time when the name “David Trezeguet” invoked only hatred from me. For me, the name was tangled with a great heart-break. It was you, David, who scored the golden goal to end my Azzuri’s hope for a well deserved Euro title. The year was 2000; the match was the final of the European championship. Italy had dominated France in that game, and looked good enough to win the title, a title which was supposed to make up for past heart-breaks. But it was not to be; a minute before the match ended, Wiltord rescued France. In extra-time, you popped up with a golden goal to plunge us Azzuri fans into misery.
How I hated you on that day.
A decade later, I mourned the day you left the club I support. You joined Juventus in the season 2000-01. You had to fill up the giant boots left by Filippo Inzaghi, and you did it with ease. On 19th September, 2000, you beat Nikopolidis in the Champions’ League to score your first goal. That was the start of a memorable journey. When the journey ended, you had 171 goals from 320 games – an enviable record by any standards.
You established yourself as one of the best poachers in recent times. In a countless number of matches, you would remain anonymous for the whole game, before coming out of nowhere to score a goal. With Alessandro Del Piero, you formed one of the most lethal striker combinations of modern times. The famed “Old Guard” of Juventus – Nedved, Camoranesi, Del Piero and you (with Buffon), won a lot of games and trophies together. The chemistry between the four of you was unique. Take this goal against Real Madrid, for example. Camoranesi takes the ball, releases Nedved on the right wing, he cuts in and crosses to Del Piero, who knocks it into your path. You finish past Casillas from a tight angle, clockwork.
But we, the Bianconeri fans over the world, don’t admire the “Old Guard” only for their on-field magic. You mean more than that to us. You unwavering loyalty to the club is now a stuff of legends. Unlike mercenaries like Ibrahimovic or Cannavaro, the five of you stayed back, and even went down to Serie B with the club.
For Alex, Pavel and Gigi it was straight-forward. They were the first ones to declare they were staying back. With you it was not so simple, was it? You were heavily linked to Barcelona, but somehow stayed back. In Serie B, you scored a goal against Spezia and then signaled “I’m out”. For every season since Calciopoli, you have been linked with a move away. But you always stayed back, and kept scoring goals.
Unlike Gigi or Alex, you were never free of controversies, the Spezia incident and your ill-timed outburst against Ranieri being examples. The latter one saw you burn all the bridges with the Tinkerman. Last season, you finally broke the record of the legendary Omar Sivori. David Trezeguet – the highest scoring foreigner in the history of Juventus. Boy, you did deserve it!
Your departure was unnecessary. The new management thinks you are a surplus to their requirements, but “Trezegol” is still better than the current Juventus prima puntas put together. It pains me to think that you will be replaced by perma-crock Iaquinta and perma-fail Amauri.
The Juventus website reported the capture of Fabio Quagliarella, the same day your exit news was reported. Very apt, isn’t it David? It perfectly sums up what Juventus is fast becoming. We are replacing a world class goal-scorer with a very mediocre striker with an ordinary record. You joined a club that was one of the best in the world; you are now leaving one which is flirting with mid-table mediocrity. Like my opinion about you a decade ago, the profile of your club has been majorly transformed.
Your partner in crime, Alessandro Del Piero posted a wonderful tribute for you in his site – “Seventeen goals a year in average, like your jersey number: that’s more than enough to prove what kind of bomber you are. But I, who played by your side, don’t need any numbers. I’m honoured to have played in a pair with, no doubt, one of the world’s greatest forward.”
I will miss you, Trezegol. I will miss your goals. I will miss how you would come out of nowhere and deliver a sucker punch. I will miss your partnership with Alex. Above all I will miss your open mouthed, ecstatic celebration. I was privileged to watch one of the greatest goal-scorers in recent times, in full flow.
Thank you for everything, King David. All the best for your future, and I hope you will come back one day to Turin for a proper send-off like your team-mate Pavel Nedved.
It has been a wonderful ride, occasionally bumpy, but still wonderful.
A Juventus fan