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Del Piero proud of Juventus's new home

Published: Friday 9 September 2011, 9.20CET
Alessandro Del Piero was thrilled as Juventus's new stadium opened on Thursday, saying: "Juve have always been a wonderful painting, and a great painting needs a wonderful frame like this."
by Paolo Menicucci
from Turin
Del Piero proud of Juventus's new home
Opening night at the Juventus Arena ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 9 September 2011, 9.20CET

Del Piero proud of Juventus's new home

Alessandro Del Piero was thrilled as Juventus's new stadium opened on Thursday, saying: "Juve have always been a wonderful painting, and a great painting needs a wonderful frame like this."

A 1-1 friendly draw against Notts County FC, the team that inspired Juventus's black-and-white shirts, marked the opening of the club's new 41,000-seater home stadium, built on the site of the old Stadio Delle Alpi.

Captain Alessandro Del Piero, Juventus's all-time top scorer, said: "I'm proud of the important pages I have written in our great history. Juve have always been a wonderful painting, and a great painting needs a wonderful frame like this."

Luca Toni had the honour of scoring the first goal at the club's new home, tapping in with his left foot after Robert Burch parried a Fabio Quagliarella penalty early in the second half. Lee Hughes equalised from close range three minutes from time following a free-kick from the left.

Juventus notables paraded on to the pitch before kick-off, including three great goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Dino Zoff and Lucidio Sentimenti. "I'm 91, but this is surely one of the best nights of my life; something unforgettable," said Sentimenti, the oldest of the players invited. England coach Fabio Capello and 2006 FIFA World Cup winner Marcello Lippi were also in attendance, while sweeper Gaetano Scirea, who died in a car crash in 1989, was remembered with dancers forming a huge No6 on the pitch.

However, all those big names made way for the club's two greatest players, Giampiero Boniperti and Del Piero, who came out to the centre circle along with the famous bench where students from the Massimo D'Azeglio High School hatched the plan to found the club 114 years ago. "My history with Juventus started on 4 June 1946," said former Bianconeri captain and president Boniperti. "I'm still here 65 years on to hug you fans and remind the current players of a famous sentence: 'For Juve, winning is not important; it's the only thing that really matters.'"

La Vecchia Signora have become the first big Italian side to own their own stadium, tentatively named the Juventus Arena. Built at a cost of around €105m, the venue boasts executive boxes, a Juventus museum, parking spaces for 4,000 vehicles and a 34,000 square metre shopping centre. Unlike the Delle Alpi, there is no running track at the new stadium, with the stands just 7m from the pitch, and the back rows of seats only 49m away.

Founded in 1897, Juventus wore pink shirts until 1903, when one of the club's English players, John Savage, asked a friend back at home to send a new set of team shirts out to Turin; a fan of Notts County, the friend chose to send the club a set of black-and-white shirts to match those of the team he supported.

Last updated: 09/09/11 12.54CET

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