The Runner Sports

Memory Lane: Did Alessio Tacchinardi Get The Respect He Deserved?

Welcome to ‘Memory Lane’, a column where The Runner Sports turns back the clock to discuss past controversies, events, and players from the archives of the Beautiful Game. Take a Stroll. 

The year is 2005 and a 12-year veteran of the beautiful game is set to go to Villarreal CF on a two-year loan. He cleans out his locker, at the time he is 30 years of age, and doesn’t know what the future holds. He only knows that newly appointed coach, Fabio Capello, doesn’t value his skills in the engine room.

The veteran being discussed is Alessio Tacchinardi, and he was forced to leave the club he called home for 11 years, exiting without a proper farewell, or a heartwarming thank you from the Turin based giants. But did the midfielder deserve one? Most would say, yes.

Although the Bianconeri faithful would consider his last season with them something worth forgetting, it was his attitude, never-say-die spirit, and occasional brilliance that won the fans over. With a star-studded cast including the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero, Ciro Ferrara, and Filippo Inzaghi, it’s easy to get overlooked, but for the diehards, it was love at first sight.


Tacchinardi entered the Italian Serie A in 1992 for Atalanta B.C. when he was 17 years old. It was there where he displayed a real knack for tactical awareness, a true student of Catenaccio. The Crema-born Italian appeared in only nine games for the La Dea, and then made his way to Turin after Juve director, Luciano Moggi, found his stamina and eye for breaking up attacks to be impressive.

When in midfield, he was partnered with Paolo Sousa and Didier Deschamps early on, and then with Edgar Davids, Antonio Conte, Zidane and Pavel Nedved later in his tenure. Although he’s best remembered for play in the middle of the pitch, he was actually deployed in central-defense and fullback positions on occasion, a truly dynamic footballer with tremendous work-rate.

He reached his peak between 1998-2003, during which he won three Serie A titles, two Supercoppa Italianas, and one UEFA Intertoto Cup. These years also saw the former Atalanta player display instances of creative brilliance, especially at long-range. At this time he was predominantly partnered in a holding-central role with Davids, which proved to be an effective partnership.

His instances of technical magic can be seen below:

As he battled through injury during his final season with the Old Lady, he struggled to replicate the form that got him a spot in the starting XI, and after two loan spells at Villarreal, and a stint in the Serie B with Brescia, the icon of an exciting era in Bianconeri history hung up his boots at age 33. He finished his career winning 17 trophies with La Fidanzata d’Italia and was never truly shown the appreciation he deserved during his initial departure. Capello may have marginalized the midfielder, but the fans never took Tacchinardi out of their hearts.

There are times when not only consistent goal scoring receives praise, but also hard work, sacrifice, and passion for the badge on your jersey. It is those qualities that made Alessio who he was and adored by those who watched him. He was effective in his role, and never took a day off.

However, it wasn’t completely for nothing, because when Juventus Stadium opened in 2011, the new 40,000 seater arena added him to the Juventus 50 Legends, where his name is written alongside the other greats, and rightfully so. Take that Capello.