Alessandro Del Piero writes about his career at Sydney FC in his new book. “Australia isn’t just a place; it’s a state of mind.”
The former Juventus legend releases his latest autobiography, titled ‘Playing On,’ on November 20 and some extracts were published by Fox Sports.
“Australia has recharged me and given me what I needed. After leaving Juventus I received many offers, mainly from Italy - far more than I would have expected.
“After nearly 20 years wearing the black-and-white jersey - which Italians either love or hate, but which in any case divides them - I didn’t imagine so many teams would consider placing bets on someone who until a day earlier had been an opponent and the captain of the rival team of all teams.
“Managers, Coaches and colleagues made me feel really flattered. Probably they were hoping to take advantage of any feeling of revenge I might have had against Juventus, but I’ve never felt that.
“You don’t erase the past, or at least I don’t. I’ve always said I’d never play for another Italian team, despite my deep respect for the other clubs. I kept to that.”
Alex looked back on that final match at the Juventus Stadium as “the most spontaneous, sincere and amazing tribute ever.”
He received offers from numerous clubs around the world, but realised it “wasn’t possible” to win any more than he already had done at Juventus and with Italy, so he sought something different.
“Australia stands for a before and an after. Even once I’m no longer here I’ll always remember this interlude as a watershed time in my life, and not only in my professional life.
“From the moment I arrived at the airport and from the first training session, not to mention my first game, I had the honour and the responsibility of being celebrated as an emblem of football and of sports in general, a symbol of the growth of the whole Australian football movement.
“That is no small thing: it's almost the ultimate accomplishment one can hope for in one’s career. Almost, though, because it’s a career that is not yet over. The finale has yet to be written.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.