Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero has paid tribute to the job done by coach Massimiliano Allegri ahead of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona.
Allegri took over from Antonio Conte at the start of the season and guided the club to a fourth consecutive Scudetto and a first Coppa Italia in 20 years, with the Italian champions able to complete the treble in Berlin this weekend.
Del Piero – part of Juve’s last successful European adventure in 1996 – claims both Allegri and opposite number Luis Enrique can be proud of their debut campaigns in charge.
“Allegri took over a winning team and improved it without shaking things up too much,” he told Barca’s official website.
“He did it gradually, by inserting his principles without losing confidence in his team.
“Juve play serene, organised football now. They play good football, it’s very technical. As for Luis Enrique, he’s also done an extraordinary job.
“The [Barca] team has found brilliance and unity, with the guarantee of three great players [Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez] up front who have complete freedom of expression, yet they always work for the good of the team.”
The final in Berlin is set to be the stage for Xavi’s farewell appearance after 17 years in Barca’s first team, with his potential match-up against Juve maestro Andrea Pirlo likely to prove an interesting spectacle.
Del Piero was effusive in his praise of the pair and Barca star Messi.
“We’re talking about the Olympus of football, on the greatest level of intelligence,” he added, in reference to Pirlo and Xavi.
“They are two unique parts of football history, real phenomena. It has been a pleasure to play with and against them.
“Messi is the number one. He has talent, instinct, passion and magic. Messi is part of football heritage and we’re so lucky that he’s living in our time and that we can enjoy watching him.”