Summer has hardly been a time to sit back and soak up the sun for David Trezeguet. First, cast aside by Raymond Domenech when the France coach announced his squad list for UEFA EURO 2008, the 30-year-old whose golden goal gave Les Bleus the 2000 European title decided to call time on his international career. Then, having decided to focus all his efforts on claiming honours with Juventus, Trezegol watched as the Turin outfit recruited a formidable strike rival in the shape of former Palermo forward Amauri. It would have been easy to think his Bianconeri reign was about to end, but it takes a lot more than that to dampen the prolific goalscorer's spirits.
The Franco-Argentinian striker possesses granite-like mental strength, something he has proved time and again with important strikes on the big occasions. He looks to be in fine form ahead of the new Serie A season too, hitting the target against AC Milan at the end of July during a 2-2 friendly draw at San Siro. Trezeguet then followed that effort up with the winner earlier this month as Juventus overcame Arsenal 1-0 in the Emirates Cup – timely reminders for those who had written him off and the best way to respond to rumours he might be leaving. FIFA.com caught up with the match-winner as he left the Emirates Stadium in London.
FIFA.com: David, you appear to be in excellent form after scoring friendly goals against AC Milan and Arsenal.
David Trezeguet: Those were friendly matches so they don't really count. But it's true that scoring is always good for morale. For a striker, it's primordial even, and it's also a good way of getting to know my team-mates better. We're playing well and we want to do well. We've played against Arsenal (1-0 win), Hamburg (3-0 loss) and Manchester United (0-0), and they're all top-quality sides. Against Arsenal, it's true it was a difficult match and we only managed a slender victory. We realise we were under the cosh against a top-class team but we were still able to come out on top. And that's the most important thing in matches like that.
Is the team coping with the traditionally rigorous pre-season physical work that Italy is famous for?
Yes. At the moment, we're working very hard, both morning and afternoon. We're still in the middle of preparations, so we're understandably a bit tired. The Italian championship doesn't get started until 31 August but the first important match on the calendar is already approaching, with the Champions League qualifier on 13 August (when Juventus contest the first leg of their tie against Slovakian side Artmedia Petrzalka). After two years away, the club has to return to the Champions League this season. That's our goal and we'll be ready.
In personal terms, how do you feel physically?
I don't feel 100 per cent yet but I'm getting there bit by bit.
This summer has seen another striker, Amauri, join Juventus. He is a talented reinforcement but also a rival for a starting place given that the club already boasts Vincenzo Iaquinta, Alessandro Del Piero and yourself. Are you worried about the competition?
What with the championship and the Champions League, the club realised we needed another striker of the highest quality. Amauri is a great player and, from now on, there'll be four of us and two places up for grabs. It'll be up to us to be ready when the coach (Claudio Ranieri) needs us. But competition has never frightened me. It's been like this ever since I joined Juve.
You were not among the 23 players France took to EURO 2008. Did you feel you had no choice but to announce your international retirement?
In any squad, it's important to have the coach's trust and I didn't have that, despite the support of the general public. There comes a time when you have to say "stop". That's what I did.
Will that allow you to focus fully on winning titles with Juventus?
I've always given a lot, whether it be for my club or the national team. All I have to say is that I had to bring what was a delicate situation to an end. That's done now. From now on, I'll be 100 per cent committed to my club, with the ambition of winning at least one title this season.