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Del Piero elated with ´perfect´ finish

14 May 2012 20:56

Departing Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero called it a 'perfect' day as he scored to help the Serie A winners finish the season unbeaten.

Del Piero is due to leave the Turin club after 19 years when his contract expires in the close-season, but he signed off in the best possible manner by scoring the second goal in Juve's 3-1 final-day victory over Atalanta.

The 37-year-old Del Piero stuck with the club through its relegation to Serie B following the 2006 Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, with this season's title being their first since returning to the top flight for the 2007/08 season.

"Today was perfect, it was just perfect," declared Del Piero after the game.

"It's difficult to talk about today's emotions now, and it will still be difficult in the future, because so many things have happened that have left me just numb.

"But I want to say that regardless of all that has happened, I'm very happy to celebrate something that I really care about: the team winning and having an undefeated season.

"It's great we've ended that here in front of our supporters."

Del Piero refused to comment on his future, however.

"I don't want to talk about the end of my career at Juventus today, even if I know that's your job to ask me about it.

"Today it's a day I would like to keep as a good memory, a great memory."

Juventus' performances this season have been a marked improvement on last year, when they finished seventh under Luigi Delneri, with former captain Antonio Conte taking over as manager for this campaign.

Under Conte, Juventus have now become just the third club to complete an undefeated Serie A campaign, following on from Perugia in 1978-79 and AC Milan in 1992-92, in seasons where those teams played less than the current 38 games.

Conte, though, said winning the title still had not sunk in.

"From the first day in training until now the team has made an extraordinary improvement," Conte said.

"It was almost a surprise coming in for this conference as coach of the winning team.

"I was also surprised last Wednesday during the training session, because I still couldn't believe how things have gone.

"I was watching the guys train and everyone was saying that we had won the title, and I was supposed to be in charge.

"These are the things that have surprised me most, and these are the incredible emotions which my guys have put me through by playing an extraordinary season."

Aside from seeing his side go through unbeaten, Conte said the lingering memory of the day would be seeing the supporters' reaction to Del Piero's farewell.

"The ovation for Alessandro Del Piero, it was something extraordinary, it was beautiful and just incredible," he said.

"I also felt a strong emotion when he came to embrace me at the end. I can't really describe it. It's been a very intense day, full of emotions."

There was some bad news for Juventus, however, as skipper Giorgio Chiellini picked up a thigh injury in the game's latter stages which will see him miss the Coppa Italia final against Napoli on May 20.

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