Alessandro Del Piero is committed to Sydney FC, looks back at Juventus and reveals why he turned down a move to Flamengo.
The Bianconeri legend moved to Australia last year and scored in the Sydney derby yesterday, putting aside reports he could seek a transfer elsewhere.
“With each passing day I am more convinced that I made the right choice for me and my family,” he told the Corriere dello Sport.
“If I had wanted to have an experience closer to home, then I could’ve accepted other offers, but I wanted a truly radical change. This was my opportunity to do so. It is the kind of experience that helps you grow, right?
“Italy is my home and I miss it, but it’s not a trauma for me because I am happy in Australia and also know I will return.”
Del Piero followed Antonio Conte’s lead to blast the way Juventus are treated in Serie A, as the team bus is regularly pelted with objects as it pulls into the visiting stadium.
“What I really do not miss is a certain aggression and rudeness that unfortunately is not just common in football.
“One of the most positive aspects of my experience in Australia and what convinced me to stay for another season was that I can act as a testimonial for the sport. I was greeted with enthusiasm and passion, as there is hunger for football, great respect and love for the sport.
“In every city I have visited, not just Sydney, I could see this reality. Football is not the top sport in Australia, but today there is talk of it on television and in the papers, so interest is growing all the time. In general sport is seen as part of the life and culture.”
Del Piero had received an offer from Brazilian club Flamengo, but stood by Sydney FC even during a poor campaign.
“I didn’t want to leave things half-done, I never have. I am infinitely grateful to those who wanted me with them for next season. A fantastic side like Flamengo and a country like Brazil, I can’t say I didn’t think about it... But I did not say no to Flamengo – I said yes to Sydney. That’s a big difference.”
Alex went to the A-League, but Francesco Totti is still playing and scoring for Roma in Serie A.
“Totti was a great opponent and a great teammate. There is respect for us that goes beyond the pitch and our personal histories. Anyone who loves football can’t help but appreciate someone like him. I admire him, yes. Envy? No.
“Ryan Giggs has played over 1,000 games and I was fortunate enough to shake his hand as captain. He is a symbol that belongs to all of football, not just Manchester United.”
Del Piero has repeated he will always be a Juventus supporter and is still in contact with many of his former teammates.
“They know I am always cheering them on. There are often replays of my final game in Turin, but I don’t need to see the footage to think back at what I felt and the fans gave me. It went beyond goals, victories, everything.
“Am I thinking of a future as a Coach? In all honesty, not yet.”