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Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti – Adversaries, Brothers, Legends

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Two great warriors of the Serie A met on Saturday night at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino in Turin: Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti.

Between them, they have over 35 years in the Italian top flight. Both were World Cup champions with the Azzurri in 2006. Had fate been kinder, both would have won the European Cup of Nations in 2000 against France. Both have been top scorers in the Serie A during their illustrious carriers. In the case of Del Piero, he is the only man to win consecutive scoring titles in the Serie B and Serie A (2006/2007 and 2007/2008).

Both men are avid sportsmen. Del Piero is a passionate supporter of the NBA (American basketball.) Totti has been seen at tennis matches and swimming meets. Ironically, but not surprisingly, both men scored goals on Saturday night.

Del Piero and Totti are “l’uomo simbolo,” or symbols, of Juventus FC and AS Roma, respectively. In the same vein as Ryan Giggs of Manchester United, Raul Gonzalez of Real Madrid and Paolo Maldini of AC Milan, they are the last of a dying breed of men who played their entire careers with one club. More than footballers, they embody the heart, spirit and soul of their respective cities and teams.

This season, Juventus and Roma are going in different directions. But as you will see, the relationship between Del Piero and Totti is not defined by wins, draws or losses.

Alex Del Piero on Totti

Del-Piero“Se sommiamo i miei gol e i suoi, superiamo quota 500. Se sommiamo gli anni di carriera con la stessa maglia, sempre e soltanto la stessa maglia, arriviamo a 35 anni. Una vita. Lo stesso discorso valeva per le mie sfide con Paolo Maldini. Io credo che non esista il concetto di bandiera, di simbolo di una società, di una squadra, di una tifoseria, se poi non lo riempi ogni giorno di contenuti, sul campo e fuori dal campo. Per questo per me è un orgoglio avere affrontato e affrontare giocatori così”.

“Con Francesco siamo stati compagni di squadra in Nazionale, sottolineo compagni e non rivali. Siamo molto diversi, ma abbiamo molte cose in comune. Abbiamo vinto un Mondiale insieme e quei ricordi ci legheranno per sempre. Ma soprattutto con i nostri club siamo stati, e saremo, avversari. Ecco, io penso che un campione diventi grande anche attraverso i grandi avversari che affronta. Per questo sarò felice, domani sera, di stringere la mano a Francesco”.

“If we add up my goals and his, we would surpass 500. If we add up the years with the same shirt, always and only the same shirt, we reach 35 years. A lifetime. The same discussion used to apply to all of the times that I faced Paolo Maldini. I believe that there doesn’t exist a concept of flag bearer, a symbol of an organization, of a team, of a fan base, if you don’t fill yourself up properly every day, on and off the pitch. For this reason, it is an honor to have faced and to face footballers like these.”

“With Francesco we have been teammates on the national team. I emphasize teammates and not rivals. We are very different, but we have many things in common. We won the World Cup together and those memories will bind us forever. But above all with our clubs we have been, and will be, adversaries. I think that a champion becomes great due to the great opponents he faces. For this I will be happy, tomorrow night (Saturday), to shake the hand of Francesco.”

Francesco Totti on Del Piero

“Alessa’, è vero. Siamo rimasti noi le ultime bandiere del calcio italiano!”. È sempre una bella sfida giocare contro campioni come te. Abbiamo condiviso tanti momenti importanti fuori e dentro il campo. Ma quello che mi fa sentire più vicino a te è che abbiamo la stessa forza di rimetterci in piedi con tanta voglia di vincere. E domani pronti a scendere in campo da avversari”.

“Alex, it is true. We have remained the last two flag bearers of Italian football!”

“It is always a great challenge to play against champions such as you. We have shared so many important times on and off the pitch. But what make me feel closest to you is that we have the same force to bounce back with such a great desire to win. And tomorrow (Saturday) we’ll be ready face each other as adversaries on the pitch.”

Italian Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 22 January 2009.

Italian translation by Steve Amoia of World Football Commentaries.

They may be adversaries on the pitch; however, they are brothers off of it. Del Piero and Totti: Romulus and Remus of Italian calcio.

Match Highlights: Juventus FC 1 x AS Roma 2

Goals: Del Piero (J) 51′, Totti (R) 68′, J. Riise (R) 90′

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Steve is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He was the founder of World Football Commentaries in 2006. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Soccer School), Football Media, Italian Soccer Serie A, International Herald Tribune 2006 World Cup Fan Blog, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens. Steve has also created three football-related sites: World Football, Italian Calcio and History of the Azzurri, and The Amoias of the Americas. Steve translated player and manager quotes from Italian and Spanish to English for Soccerlens during the FIFA 2010 World Cup.