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Watch: Juve can go all the way in Champions League - Tacconi

Former keeper was in Malta as guest

From Gianpiero Combi to Dino Zoff, leading to Stefano Tacconi, Angelo Peruzzi and now Gianluigi Buffon, the Juventus goal has always been guarded by a great keeper.

At 39 years of age, Buffon is probably writing his last few verses in an enriched romance with the Turin giants. So, the obvious question is who will be replacing him in the near future?

It won’t be easy for Juve to find quick solutions. However, the Bianconeri bosses had already faced this task before and, as happened most often, they always opted for the right man to defend their goal.

Tacconi was one of the options back in the summer of 1983. On that occasion, they signed the former Avellino no.1 to replace the legendary Zoff. A year before, Zoff had lifted Italy’s third World Cup at the age of 40 years, a record which still stands today.

Tacconi went on to become a hit in Turin, winning the Serie A, Champions Cup and UEFA Cup in an illustrious career up north.

Unfortunately, he never really had a chance to show more of his potential with the national team after spending most of his Azzurri career as no.2 to Walter Zenga, the former Inter great.

Tacconi was recently here on a short visit as guest of Legea Malta in conjunction with Juventus Club Doc Malta – Cuore Bianconero. He talked about his best moments with Juventus and also Massimiliano Allegri’s chances of success this season.

“I feel lucky to have played in a team that also boasted the likes of Michel Platini and Zibi Boniek,” he said.

“I joined Juve from a very modest club, Avellino. Really, I never thought about playing for a top side, even though you always aspire for something like that to happen in your career.

“I never thought I would go on and represent Juventus for an entire decade.”

I never thought I would go on and represent Juventus for an entire decade

Despite being on the books of Inter in his early days in football, Tacconi was regularly sent on loan to clubs not actually challenging at the heights of the Italian Serie A.

But then, his fine performances at Avellino caught the attention of the Juventus scouts who offered him a contract with the huge task of filling Zoff’s void in goal.

In 1983, Zoff decided to hang up his boots, taking up the role of goalkeeping coach at Juve. His priority was to mentor Tacconi.

“Juve are a big club in Italy so at first I was somewhat apprehensive but I couldn’t turn down the chance to play for them,” Tacconi said.

“I’m always grateful to have had Zoff supporting me at Juve. Like him, I went on to wear the captain’s armband… and also lifted two trophies as captain.

“I was getting all the backing I needed and my self-confidence and character helped me to settle down nicely. Retaining my place in the team became my top priority and that led me to lift my levels of performance.”

Hamburg fate

Tacconi became a prominent figure and a mainstay in the team as he played a key role in Juve’s successes at home and abroad.

“ I think I was lucky to have joined Juventus less than a month after they had lost the European Cup to Hamburg… probably, they would not have opted for change had they won that final,” Tacconi admitted.

Yet, that great upset triggered an angry reaction inside the club and from then on Juventus embarked on a decade of successes.

Perhaps, the pinnacle of Tacconi’s career came in 1985 when Juventus travelled to Tokyo to cross swords with Argentinos Juniors in the Intercontinental Cup final.

Stefano Tacconi with Dino Zoff.Stefano Tacconi with Dino Zoff.

He stopped two penalties in a shoot-out after a 2-2 draw, earning the Old Lady the status of world champions.

“Naturally, it is every player’s dream to help his team win the Intercontinental Cup and those days this tournament carried more significance than today in my opinion,” Tacconi said.

“Obviously, we travelled to Tokyo with high hopes of winning the match even though I never thought of saving two penalties,” Tacconi recalled.

Rolling the years to 2017, Juventus are currently vying for an unprecedented sixth Serie A scudetto and are also through to the last eight in the UEFA Champions League. The last time the Bianconeri won the European title was in 1996, a few years after Tacconi had left the side following 377 appearances.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side will face the might of Leo Messi and Barcelona next month but Tacconi is confident Juventus have what it takes to make it all the way to Cardiff for the final in June.

“The Champions League is Juve’s top objective this season,” Tacconi said.

“That’s a high order so there is a lot of pressure at the moment inside the dressing room but that’s the ideal atmosphere to keep the players on the edge of their game.

“Some teams may look stronger than Juventus on paper but this could be their year because at the end of the day the favourite side does not always win.”

Stefano Tacconi lifts the UEFA Cup trophy for Juventus in 1990.Stefano Tacconi lifts the UEFA Cup trophy for Juventus in 1990.

Tacconi club career

Years Team Matches
1975-1976 Inter 0
1976-1977 Spoleto (loan) 30
1977-1978 Pro Patria (loan) 7
1978-1979 Livorno (loan) 33
1979-1980 Sambenedettese 38
1980-1983 Avellino 90
1983-1992 Juventus 377
1992-1995 Genoa 43
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