When Oasis tried to bring Del Piero to Manchester City

When Oasis tried to bring Del Piero to Manchester City

Emissaries of their favorite team, Manchester City, sent on a mission to Italy to try to snatch number 10 Alex Del Piero from Juventus: can you imagine Oasis in these guises? What if we told you that there was a moment in which the former Juventus icon really believed that the Gallagher brothers were 007s sent by John Wardle, the then president of City, to negotiate directly with him for a possible transfer to the Citizens? A joke, as Noel Gallagher would explain a few years later, which however Del Piero took seriously. But let's go in order.

In 2004 the contract that Alex Del Piero had signed five years earlier – for 10 billion lire net per season – with Juventus was expiring and had to be renewed. The champion was evidently in a phase of his career in which he had decided to look around (the role of permanent starter that he had held up to that point would have been called into question with the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and above all of the new coach Fabio Capello, which would have often relegated him to the bench). There is more than one point in common that in 2004 links Alex Del Piero to the symbolic band of Britpop. He underlines it

Patrizio Ruviglioni in a bookjust released, dedicated to the former Juventus number 10,”The first of the class” (66thand2nd, 224 pp): “Oasis were a global phenomenon between 1994 and 1996, when they released their first records, 'Definitely maybe' and '(What's the story) Morning glory?', two pillars of pop culture containing most of the group's classics, from 'Live forever' to 'Don't look back in anger' and to 'Wonderwall' itself, which later became a sort of anthem for Manchester City fans. They too, at the same time as Del Piero, had experienced a meteoric, unexpected and seemingly unstoppable rise. Then, partly because life as a rock star took its toll and partly because youthful creativity weakened, they recorded less brilliant and more professional records.. People have continued to adore them, so much so that a reunion has been clamoring for years, but more out of affection and nostalgia than for current merits. It's a sensation that Del Piero also knows: after the injury he found the human appreciation of the fans, a new dimension to his way of playing, less extraordinary but still effective; but just like the regret for music when we were kids, it is common opinion that in the beginning it was something else”.

The Manchester City of those years was not exactly the football superpower that we know today, accustomed with Guardiola to winning trophy after trophy and with Arab money to signing football stars with extreme ease: it was a mid-table team, back in the Premier League, the first division of the English league, for a couple of seasons. The creativity and imagination of a player like Del Piero are all that Manchester City fans, starting with Noel and Liam, need. And so when in 2004 they found themselves handing over “Che tempo che fa” by Fabio Fazio to their friend Alex the Gold Record for the compilation “Alessandro Del Piero Selections“, a collection of songs chosen by Del Piero – or whoever for him – also containing their “Wonderwall”, Noel makes the attacker a proposal: “When are you coming to City? We also get involved, economically”. “They are very instinctive, first they say one thing and think it: I'm the opposite,” Del Piero will say about the relationship with the Gallaghers, recalling that exchange, in a video about their friendship published on the Oasis YouTube channel.

When and how the friendship between Alex Del Piero and Oasis was born is unclear: “We became friends because we have two passions in common: music and football. Theirs are fantastic songs. The relationship with the band was born in a quite casual, natural way. There were some exhilarating moments. I saw their concerts. I also presented a very particular concert by Noel (in 2006 in Milan, ed.)”, is all that the former Juventus captain had to say about the bond. It culminated, after the proposal to move to Manchester City, with lDel Piero's participation in the video clip of the Oasis single

Lord don't slow me down”, dated 2007. A proposal that Alex must have evidently seriously taken into consideration, according to Noel Gallagher's words on the episode: “Del Piero is an Oasis fan and used to come to concerts in Italy. Years ago I was on a television show in Italy and at the time it was at the end of my contract. I told him as a joke that I would pay him £150,000 a week if he came to City and his agent took it seriously. She came to the concert and said to me: 'So, about the transfer?'. I replied: 'What are you talking about?'. And he said: 'Can you let me talk to City?'. And I'm like, 'No, no, I'm not the owner of the club.'”.

Despite this, the two will continue to be very close. So close that when in 2006 Del Piero was in the middle of the Italian expedition led by Marcello Lippi to Football World Cup in Germanyreceives a phone call from his friend Noel: “Hey, I'm coming down: can you get me two tickets to the game?”, the rocker tells him on the eve of the Germany-Italy semi-final on 4 July, which will be played in Dortmund. Noel was in the stands next to Del Piero's family when the Juventus champion scored the goal that definitively closed the game at the end of the second extra timebringing Italy to the final: “His wife thinks he wanted to share the moment with her, but Alex was actually looking for me”, Noel will say about Del Piero's celebration in the stands.

Curiosity: Noel will also return to see Italy in the final, against France. With a kind request from Del Piero: “For good luck he asked me to wear the same clothes as in the semi-final. The Italian fans saw how I was dressed and were reassured, saying that they would win. Yes, I am responsible for your victory: but don't thank me, you played well.”

A couple of months after the triumph of the Azzurri in Berlin, Noel will make another indecent proposal to an Italian championwho however had not taken part in the global adventure: will offer Paolo Maldini 150 thousand pounds a week, the same amount he had promised to Del Piero, to bring the Milan captain to Manchester City. “I was drunk and at that moment I told him that if he promised me to play for City I would give him 150 thousand pounds a week – the singer-songwriter will tell the English tabloid The Mirror – my manager called me and told me that Maldini had taken my proposal seriously, so I had to call him to say that I was joking”.