Former defender Ciro Ferrara, one of the 50 Bianconeri legends to take pride of place at Juventus Stadium, celebrates his 47th birthday today.
Recruited from Napoli by Marcello Lippi in the summer of 1994, Ferrara, who nine years previously had made his Partenopei debut in an exciting clash which saw Michael Platini and Diego Maradona go head-to-head, went on to become one of the best defenders to ever wear the black and white stripes.
Along with his defensive resilience that formed the bedrock of six Scudetto titles and the conquering of Europe, the Naples-born centre-back was also capable of making his presence felt in the opposition penalty area.
Goals that will live long in the memories of Bianconeri supporters are the spectacular overhead kick he scored against Piacenza in 1996 and one of the six in a UEFA Super Cup mauling of French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Even more vital, however, was his coolness under pressure when asked to step up to the plate in the pressure cooker atmosphere of a penalty shootout, converting in the victorious Champions League final against Ajax before sinking Milan with the decisive penalty in the Italian Super Cup final, played in New York, in 2003.
Two years later, in 2005, Ferrara called time on his career as a professional footballer, bowing out with an emotional standing ovation at the Delle Alpi after becoming the tenth ever player to reach 500 appearances in Italy’s top flight.
Having hung up his boots at the age of 38, he went on to spend a further five years in Turin, overseeing victorious Primavera and Allievi titles as academy technical coordinator before stepping up to manage the first team during the 2009/10 campaign.
All associated with Juventus Football Club would like to wish Ciro many happy returns on his special day.