By Andrew Misra
Seventeen is not a number that many players will rush to have assigned to them. Indeed, you may find yourself scratching your head and racking your brains to even think of elite players who have adorned the number. Perhaps Pedro at Barcelona, or his former teammate Alexis Sanchez in his first two seasons at The Gunners.
Loyal fans of Juventus, however, are the exception. Arguably their most cherished foreign player wore the number 17 shirt with distinction for eleven seasons. That player is David Trezeguet.
17, naturally, follows on from 16 – so it’s fitting that David Sergio Trezeguet follows Kun Agüero. The link to Argentina doesn’t stop there.
Trezeguet was born in Rouen, in the Normandy region of France, but grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His father, Jorge, is an Argentinian former professional footballer. He later represented his son as his agent.
Jorge played football for several of the vast array of teams in the Argentine capital. He was banned in 1974 for failing a drugs test but later pardoned.
Nevertheless, it was Jorge’s connections in football that helped to get David’s eight-year-old feet on the rungs of the footballing ladder. That was the age at which he was picked up by Club Atlético Platense in the Argentine Primera División.
He made his professional bow eight years later on the 12th June 1994 as a 16-year-old in a 1–1 draw against Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata.
After just five matches with the team, he was whisked off back to his native country to play for AS Monaco.
It was at Les Monégasques where Trezeguet struck up a partnership with fellow Frenchman Thierry Henry after the side won the league in the 1996-97 season.
Trezegol spent three more seasons familiarising himself with the last three letters of his nickname at the principality before joining Juventus for £20 million. First though, he introduced himself to his new Italian audience on the international stage at Euro 2000.
Two years on from winning the World Cup with his country in 1998, Trezeguet found himself facing his new adopted country in the showpiece event in Rotterdam on 2nd July.
Marco Delvecchio had given Italy the lead in the 55th minute. It looked like that would be enough to see them crowned European champions for the first time since 1968 until Sylvain Wiltord beat Italian keeper Francesco Toldo with a low drive in the final minute of injury time.
The game duly proceeded into extra-time. The golden goal rules were in play. Just before the interval in extra-time, Robert Pires pulled the ball back to the edge of the box.
Trezeguet was there to receive it. Except he didn’t receive it. Instead, he fired a first-time left-footed effort high into the net. If they weren’t so familiar with him before, Italian football fans were well aware of David Trezeguet now.
It was this two-footed nature, as well as his aerial ability, that would characterise Trezeguet’s goalscoring for the next decade.
Carlo Ancelotti was the Juventus manager who brought Trezeguet to Turin. However, he initially played Filippo Inzaghi upfront alongside Allesandro Del Piero, consigning Trezeguet to the bench.
Following the 2000-01 season, Ancelotti departed and Marcelo Lippi took over as manager. He recognised the importance of Trezeguet to the side and installed him in the starting lineup alongside Del Piero.
The Trezeguet-Del Piero partnership was to become notorious at the Delle Alpi. The 2001-02 season was Trezeguet’s best in Italy, plundering 24 goals as Juventus won Serie A.
After the 2006 Calciopoli match-fixing scandal that saw Juventus relegated to Serie B, Trezeguet was one of the so-called ‘Five Samurai’ alongside Del Piero, Gigi Buffon, Mauro Camoranesi and Pavel Nedved. These were key figures that stayed, helping la Vecchia Signora return to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
In his eleven seasons at Juventus, Trezeguet recorded 171 goals, making him the record foreign goalscorer for the club. He continues to be held in high regard at Juventus for his service as their beloved number 17, who unveiled him as a brand ambassador this summer.
Although he wore the number 17, Trezeguet was always more of a classic number 9, something that seems to be diminishing in the modern game.
“It’s a new era of football. You can’t say football is more or less spectacular, but we’re losing the pure striker, because there are very few left”
David Trezeguet may not be the most decorated player of Old Lady history, but he certainly has an affinity with the fans due to his loyalty, finishing technique, and wonderfully exciting style of play.
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