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Del Piero set for 500th Juve appearance

18 January 2007 18:24

ROME (AFP) - Alessandro Del Piero will make his 500th appearance for Juventus when the Serie B leaders host Bari this weekend.

The 32-year-old striker, a World Cup winner with Italy last year, is in his 14th season with the Turin club and was one of the few stars to stick by them when they were relegated from Serie A last summer for match-fixing.

Former Italy coach Marcello Lippi, who stood down after the Azzurri triumphed in Germany, heaped praise on Del Piero for his contribution to Italian football.

"Del Piero is exceptional," Lippi said.

"Few players have reached 500 appearances for Juventus, let alone score 203 goals.

"When anyone thinks of Juve, they think of Del Piero. He is one of the few real symbols of Italian football; he is a leader and has an immensely tough character, he demonstrated that at the World Cup.

"He stayed with Juventus after they were relegated and is a shining example to the rest of the squad."

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