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Watch: ‘Donning the Juve colours brings added responsibility’

Video: Jonathan Borg

Putting on the Juventus shirt was always a memorable moment for LUIGI DE AGOSTINI, who featured 217 times for the Vecchia Signora in a five-year spell. The former Italy defender was recently in Malta and met Gianluca Lia with whom he recalled his experience with the Serie A giants and national team.

 

Luigi De Agostini was recently in Malta following an invitation by the Pembroke Athleta nursery. During his stay, the Maltese club’s youngsters had the privilege of being trained by the former Juventus and Italy player for a couple of days. 

Moreover, he was also greeted by the local Juventus supporters branch, the Juventus Club Malta Cuore Bianconero, the team that gave him the best memories during his playing career as he donned the club colours for 217 games, netting 28 goals.

In fact, during his five-year stay in Turin, Luigi De Agostini established himself in Juve’s starting formation as he always injected a sense of calmness and security to the team’s defensive department.  

Born in 1961, De Agostini first played for northeasterners Udinese prior to his move to Juventus. After his experience in Turin he also turned out for Inter, albeit his stay in Milan was a short one as he stayed at the San Siro for only one season. 

At Juventus, De Agostini was part of the team that completed a double by clinching the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup in the 1989-1990 season, putting his name on the scoresheet against Serie A rivals Fiorentina in the European competition final. 

His commanding showings in Turin eventually helped him to earn the opportunity to be part of the Italian national team. 

With the Azzurri, De Agostini collected 36 caps and was included in the Italia ’90 squad that had to settle for third place at that World Cup.

“Juventus is the most prestigious club in Italy and whoever has the opportunity to don the black and white shirt, has a lot of responsibility,” De Agostini said.

“Playing at Juventus puts a lot of extra pressure as a player but the rewards you get after are unforgettable.” 

Asked about the difference between Juventus and other clubs in Italy, De Agostini pointed out at the fact that at Juve, they prioritise a lot in grooming a winning mentality in the players.

“Perhaps, the difference between Juventus and other clubs is that while at other teams you wake up and think about having breakfast, at Juventus you get out of bed and immediately think about winning,” he said. 

De Agostini was kept in high esteem in Turin due to his work ethic, defensive ability but also his contribution in midfield. 

He was mostly deployed as a left-back with both Juventus and Italy. 

“In my time, there was a lot of natural left-backs, however, today there are more right-backs and it is becoming more often to see right-footed players featuring on the left flank,” De Agostini said.

At Juventus, De Agostini played with some of the best players ever to grace a football field including the late Gaetano Scirea and Roberto Baggio, the ‘Divine Ponytail’, considered by many among the greatest Italian players ever in the history of the game.

“The difference between Juventus and other clubs is that while at other teams you wake up and think about having breakfast, at Juventus you get out of bed and immediately think about winning”- De Agostini

“Unfortunately, Gaetano Scirea passed away too early. He was an influential person on and off the field and his football expertise would have been beneficial for the younger generation nowadays,” De Agostini said. 

“On the other hand, Roberto Baggio was simply superb... he was that type of player who with just one feint could change the game to your favour.” 

With Baggio, De Agostini also played in the national team where he featured in two major tournaments alongside the 1988 Summer Olympics. 

Prior the Olympics, where Italy finished fourth, De Agostini was part of the Euro 1988 squad where Italy’s adventure ended in the semi-finals against the USSR. 

Two years later, the then Juventus player suffered a semi-final heartache once again after Italy lost to Argentina in the last four on home soil. 

At Italia ’90, De Agostini was under the guidance of the late Azeglio Vicini, who he holds high in his regard for his professionalism and intelligence.

“Azeglio Vicini was a very intelligent coach but most of all, he knew his players very well and it was very unfortunate for him not to win the World Cup title,” De Agostini said.

Luigi De Agostini has enjoyed a distinguished career at Juventus. Photo: Jonathan BorgLuigi De Agostini has enjoyed a distinguished career at Juventus. Photo: Jonathan Borg

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