Alessandro Birindelli: The Unsung Hero of Juventus FC

Alessandro Birindelli: The Unsung Hero of Juventus FC

Devoted soccer fans will recognize his name, but he may never be featured on a sports puzzle. More famous teammates have overshadowed Alessandro Birindelli, but not necessarily better teammates. He was a rockstar on the field, but quietly so. The talented defender played for Juventus Football Club for a decade, and was a major part of the team's success: he won four Scudetti and the UEFA Champions League with the club.

Let’s take a closer look at the quiet victories of Birindelli, from his young start in a renowned training academy to his contributions and success with Juventus FC, which would cement his status as an unsung hero of the Italian giants.


Alessandro Birindelli's Early Life and Career

Before Birindelli's achievements and impact on Juventus, he already had a strong resume in the soccer world. Born on November 12, 1974, in Pisa, Italy, Birindelli grew up playing the sport from the age of eight. That’s when he joined the local team of San Frediano. His football education began there, meeting his fellow teammate and future coach of Serie A, Luciano Spilletti. From there, Birindelli's talent and dedication opened the door for him to move on in his journey to become a respected soccer player.

He entered Empoli Football Club’s youth academy as a right winger, then transitioned into defense for the team.

Thriving with Juventus

 After winning several awards with Empoli, Birindelli earned his card to play for the prestigious Juventus FC in 1997. He had already been a longtime fan of the team, admiring players like French footballer Michel Platini, who also played for Juventus and later became the president of the European Football Association (UEFA).

Birindelli was regarded as a talented fullback, joining an already impressive roster of young stars in the making, including Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero.

Birindelli did not disappoint. He became known for his versatility as a player -  he could play as a right-back, left-back, and occasionally, as a central defender. He displayed solid defensive skills and a rare ability to adapt to different positions -  a Swiss Army knife on the field.

His first competitive debut happened in the Supercoppa Italiana tournament where he assisted in beating the Italian football club Vincenzo Calcio.

In Birindelli’s first season with Juventus, he won the Scudetto over Inter Milan by five points.  The Scudetto is a badge of honor given to Italian football champions, literally, the colors of the Italian flag sewn into players’ jerseys.  

Winning two more leagues with Juventus in 2002 and 2003, Birindelli added two Italian Supercups to his soccer repertoire. He also made it to the Coppa Italia finals twice.

In a recent interview with the official channel for Serie A, Birindelli recognizes the deep impact his years with Juventus would have.

"My time at Juve furthered my development as a man and a footballer. It gave me the confidence and belief that I could play for a big club for many years."

He wasn’t alone on the field and he made sure to pay homage to those who surrounded him during that time. He says he recognizes the team’s management and teammates for making his soccer career successful.

It wasn’t all magical for Birendelli, however. An injured ankle in 2005 would sideline his focus forcing him to miss the entire 104th season of Serie A competition. On top of that, a major scandal in 2006 involving Juventus and several other Italian soccer clubs, known as Calciopoli, stripped the team of two titles and a humiliating demotion to second division.

The club managed to clean up the scars from the scandal by 2006-2007, allowing Birindelli to play and enjoy victory again in the Serie B championship. He managed an impressive 37 league appearances there and became vice-captain of the team.

He left the club in 2008. Birindelli went on to play his hometown team Pisa Calcio and later, in 2011, was appointed head coach to another Italian football club, U.S. Pistoiese 1921, in Tuscany.

From Player to Coach: Birindelli's Impact on Empoli's Youth Development

Birindelli has come full circle today, returning to his starting point, working in the training ‘laboratory’ that is Empoli.

After retiring as a player in 2010, Birindelli began his coaching career and is currently the coach of Empoli's Under-16 team.

Arguably his most successful post yet, he’s watching his son, Samuele Birindelli, carry the Italian soccer torch. Samuele is a professional footballer, playing for AC Monza.

His son is just one of many young talents Birindelli is mentoring and molding to become one of the next greatest football players.

Out of the Shadows

So, Alessandro Birindelli was not a ‘celebrity’ soccer player; he played loyally, but no less illustrious, in the shadows of some of the game's superstars. But he was a grinder – a player other players and coaches could always count on. And, as his illustrious playing career comes to a close, he's found a new sense of pride and purpose in watching his young son follow in his footsteps.


Like father, like son | A Chat with Birindelli | Serie A 2022/23. YouTube

Alessandro Birindelli.



Luciano Spalletti.

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