15 years ago, Nedved's final game for Juventus

15 years ago, Nedved's final game for Juventus
15 years ago, Nedved's final game for Juventus
15 years ago, Nedved's final game for Juventus

31 May 2009, a spring and end-of-season Sunday that has remained in the memory of football fans because it was full of special farewells to great legends and champions who played their last game on that day.

For those of us with a black and white heart, however, that date is linked to the last match with the Juventus shirt - and of his career - of Pavel Nedved, the foreign player with the most appearances in the club's history (on a par with Alex Sandro, who, like him, reached 327 in the very last home league match this season).

Fate then could only bring Lazio - the other Italian team which the Czech Fury turned out for - onto the pitch against the Bianconeri that day. A match in which, as always happened in the eight years he wore the Bianconeri jersey, Nedved not only showed that he was anything but a player close to 'retirement', but also managed to be decisive: it was him who provided the assist for Vincenzo Iaquinta to kake it 2-0, as well as making himself the protagonist of a real assault on the Bianconeri goal - trying in every way and from every position to score a goal, a last personal joy with Juventus.

The performance was there, the goal was not, but it mattered little, since then, in the 39th minute of the second half, at the moment of substitution, Nedved was overwhelmed by the affection of his team-mates who rushed to embrace him. A standing ovation from the crowd followed, with Nedved then doing a lap of honour around the pitch at the end of the game to greet the fans who had always shown him special affection.


After all, it is difficult not to feel a bond with the man who, having arrived in Turin in the summer of 2001, was immediately charged with a particularly onerous task: that of not making Zinedine Zidane, who had moved to Real Madrid in that market session, regret it, by continuing to make Juventus a winning team win. Nedved's addition immediately proved to be decisive in that summer of revolution for the Bianconeri team, which in the spring of 2002 led to the conquest of one of the sweetest and most remembered Scudetti in our history, and which then allowed the Czech Fury the following year to win the 2003 Ballon d'Or.

A bond with the Bianconeri colours that was strengthened even further in 2006, when Nedved decided to stay at Juventus even in Serie B - then leading the rise and starting a process that brought us back to relentless dominance in Serie A for almost a decade.

A different player, a champion, an artist who gave us his last performance, 15 years ago. Salute.


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