08 November 2014
When you turn 40, it's only natural you look back. Perhaps it's because you go from being a 30-something to a 40-something, but it's almost inevitable you stop a moment to think about what you've done in your life. We like the fact that if you too can't help reminiscing Alex today, then lots of your memories will involve Juve.
After all, we experienced nearly half of your 40 years with you, Alex. You were barely shaving when you first joined - perhaps you'd never even shaved before when you made your debut against Foggia on that 12 September 1993. Could you have ever imagined what lay ahead back then? That you would lead us to glory in Europe and around the world?
Today you'll no doubt think about that goal in Tokyo. Perhaps even the injury you suffered at Udinese. You'll think back to that overhead kick at the San Siro, but also to that draw at Rimini, two months after winning the World Cup. And then to the duet with Boniperti and the magic of that night in September, to the Scudetto won without a single defeat and the endless applause we gave you.
They were applauding you once more when we met up again this summer, on the other side of the world. You were bidding farewell to Australia before starting a new adventure in India. Because reminiscing is great, but you have to look forward. And it's important to keep doing so with style, class and professionalism - all traits that can't be taught. Either you have them or you don't. And you continue to set an example in every country, every stadium, regardless of your age.
You do so today as a wonderful 40-something, just as you did when you scored your first hat-trick a few months after your 19th birthday. That was against Parma in 1994, do you remember?
We play them again in a few hours' time and we know you'll be cheering us on when we line up. So we thought that watching back your star turn from that March afternoon and listening to your comments post-match would be the most fitting tribute on your birthday and the best way to let you know we still root for you.
Happy birthday, Alex!