Juventus and Italy legend Alessandro Del Piero has voiced his criticism of the tactics employed by Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri in his side's calamitous 3-0 home defeat against Real Madrid, in the first leg of the Champions League quarter final.
As quoted on Sky Sport Italia (via the Football Italia website), Del Piero said of Allegri: "He’s been praised many times for his decisions, but he could’ve changed something, having seen last year’s final."
Despite his doubts about Allegri's approach, the former Italy forward acknowledged that Real Madrid were exceptionally tough opponents:
“Real Madrid have the best midfield in the world. They’re a chameleonic team, who know when to attack and when to defend."
He also hailed Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo as "the best in the world". Discussing Ronaldo's attributes, he added:
"He’s playing very well as a pure striker, but he’s actually a number ten because he’s managing to excite everyone with how he’s playing."
Del Piero refused to blame Juve forwards Paulo Dybala - who was sent off - and Gonzalo Higuain, for their side's failure against Madrid.
He said: "They’ll be criticised, but Navas made an unbelievable save on Higuain, while Paulo [Dybala] tried to do something.
“He and Douglas Costa were the only ones who could give anything extra."
Despite Tuesday's defeat, Del Piero was optimistic that his former side would bounce back:
"Putting all this behind them is difficult and the result is hard to take, but Juve have clear ideas and will get back on track."
Juventus's heavy first leg defeat makes it increasingly likely that their iconic 40-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will retire without a UEFA Champions League medal to his name.
Speaking about his former Italy teammate, Del Piero said: "I don’t know when he’ll stop playing, but certainly a champion must stop when he has no more passion for what he does, when he can’t improve any more and when they stop playing."
As for Del Piero's own future, he hinted that he might be interested in taking on Allegri's role at some point:
"I haven’t decided yet, although coaching has become more and more stimulating for me, also because many of my generation are coaches," he said.
Alessandro Del Piero won the UEFA Champions League with Juventus in 1996 and the FIFA World Cup with Italy in 2006. He was also top scorer in the Champions League in the 1997/98 season, netting 10 goals in Juventus' run to the final - which they lost to Real Madrid.