Steven Dias on training with Del Piero

India international Steven Dias recalls a tip he got from the Italian football great during the stint with the now­defunct Delhi Dynamos in the ISL.

Steven Dias with Del Piero.   -  Special Arrangement

I have a lot of memories with Alessandro Del Piero. When I was a kid, he was one of my favourite players in world football. The day I came to know he was joining Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League (ISL), I was nervous thinking how is it going to be, how will he gel with the team. But the moment he arrived, he surprised me. He never had that attitude that he was a world­class player and a World Cup winner.

I was practising on the right wing one day. I was trying to cut in and shoot when he came and told me, “Show me what you do [strategy] and how you do it.” I showed him how I was trying to move, cut in while aiming for the goal. Then he took over and told me, “See me and tell me what you think about it.” He did it very easily and taught me how to deceive the goalkeeper with the body action. I had not seen such a thing before.

He showed me how I can put the goalkeeper in the wrong position by my body posture. It helped me a lot in my career. I never thought I would receive a tip from Del Piero in my career. I had nobody to teach me these things in my childhood. And these top­division players never took their day off. They would always train at the gym. I learnt a lot from him.

(As told to Wriddhaayan bhattacharyya)

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