Alessandro Del Piero: Italy's World Cup hero targets new goals

    Story highlights

    • Former Juventus star still enjoying football into his 40s
    • Italian striker has enjoyed stints at Sydney FC and Delhi Dynamos
    • Record scorer for Juventus considering offers to carry on playing
    • The 2006 World Cup winner says semifinal against Germany was most exciting game
    CNN's Human to Hero series celebrates inspiration and achievement in sport. Click here for times, videos and features

    (CNN)He's a Rolls Royce footballer who honed his game in his parents' garage.

    And even at the age of 40, former Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero is still purring along, showing no signs of running out of gas.
      The record-breaking striker is currently enjoying an Indian summer to his football career, completing stints at Sydney FC in Australia and more recently at the Delhi Dynamos in the inaugural Indian Super League.
      Inevitably, the time will come when he finally decides to hang up his boots but that doesn't look like happening anytime soon -- not when he's still enjoying himself so much.
      "About football, I love every single moment -- the life with teammates, the atmosphere before a game, the free kicks, the goals. I love every moment like the first one," Del Piero told CNN's Human to Hero series.
      The man dubbed "Il Pinturicchio" ("the little artist") has enjoyed a glittering career for both country and club in Italy.
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      During 19 seasons at Juventus he won 15 trophies including six Serie A crowns and a European Champions League title, as well as setting club records for appearances and goals.
      In all, Del Piero made 705 appearances for the Bianconeri -- including a record 478 in Serie A -- and scored 289 goals along the way.
      "I'm very proud about the records because I do everything for the club. I've had some great moments with the club, with the fans (and) with my teammates," he says.
      Raised in the town of Conegliano in northern Italy, Del Piero's love for football was fostered by his late father, Gino.
      "My childhood was fantastic. I trained and played every moment and in every space of my home," he recalls.
      "You know northern Italy is very cold -- you cannot play outside, so my father would move the car out of the garage to give me more space. I would play alone, with my schoolmates and try to imagine in my mind what it means to be a footballer."
      Del Piero turned professional at the age of 17, joining Serie B side Padova in 1991 before being snapped up by Juventus for €2.6 million two years later.
      His longstanding relationship with the "Old Lady," as Juventus is affectionately known, got off on the right foot almost from the start.
      Del Piero scored five times in 11 appearances in his debut season before making his breakthrough the following year, becoming a first-team regular standing in for injured star striker Roberto Baggio.
      The two men would go on to share a dressing room at international level, with both netting 27 times for their country, but their defining moments for the Azzurri could not have been more contrasting.
      While Baggio will forever be remembered for missing a penalty kick that handed Brazil victory in the 1994 FIFA World Cup final, Del Piero has cause to reflect on happier times on football's biggest stage.
      After being part of two unsuccessful campaigns in 1998 and 2002, Del Piero and Italy hit the jackpot in 2006 in Germany, beating France on penalties in a final remembered primarily for Zinedine Zidane's headbutt on Italy defender Marco Materazzi.
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      Victory in the final was a "beautiful" moment but Del Piero's most cherished memory of that tournament happened a few days earlier.
      "The most special moment in my head, and probably the heads of my teammates, was the semifinal," he says.
      "Definitely the final, when you take the cup and lift it to the sky, it's beautiful. But the semifinal was the most exciting. We played the home team for 120 minutes. There is a big connection between our two countries. It was incredible."
      An epic battle looked to be heading for penalties after a goalless 90 minutes, with extra time going the same way, before Fabio Grosso netted in the 119th minute followed by a Del Piero effort moments later.
      "I can't hide that my greatest victory is the World Cup. Since you're a kid you think you want to win that. It was massive," he says.
      Italy's third World Cup triumph came against a backdrop of turmoil in Italy's domestic league as Juventus and other Serie A teams were implicated in the "Calciopoli" match-fixing scandal.
      The repercussions would see former Juventus managing director Luciano Moggi banned for life by the Italian football authorities while the club was stripped of two Serie A titles won in 2005 and 2006, relegated to Serie B and docked nine points.
      The demotion to Italy's second tier saw some top players leave the club, including Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro, France defender Lilian Thuram and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
      But the ever-faithful Del Piero stayed put, helping Juventus secure the Serie B title and an immediate return to the top flight.
      "I think that staying with Juventus in Serie B, even before I knew how large the points penalty was going to be, was the best decision I could've made," Del Piero said last year.
      "I had an extraordinary season that gave extra meaning to everything that came afterwards, including the (Serie A) trophy I lifted on the last game at the Juventus Stadium."
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      Del Piero also scored in that final league match against Atalanta in May 2012 and was afforded a hero's send-off with a 20-minute standing ovation after his substitution in the second half.
      "There were many people crying that day. I was very emotional. I tried to hide my tears by bowing down to pick up some scarfs and cleaning my eyes. It was a very special and touching moment ... it will stay with me forever," he recalls.
      A open letter to Juventus' fans confirmed his exit the following July before signing a two-year deal to play for Sydney FC in Australia's A-League in a deal worth AUS$4 million ($3 million).
      He was soon helping repay that fee, netting a trademark free kick on his home debut -- one of 24 goals scored during his time Down Under.
      Del Piero has since gone on to help promote the new Indian Super League, appearing in the inaugural competition late last year.
      So what plans does the veteran have for 2015?
      "My future plan is to find a good restaurant tonight and have a rest and then tomorrow is another day," he says cheekily before suggesting that his playing days may not be over just yet.
      "I have two or three situations to analyze. I want to take some time to make a good decision like I did in the past," he adds.
      "I would love to play again, I want to play with good people around me. I'm still training now -- I want to keep myself ready for a big decision."
      Watch this space.