Friday September 7 2012
Del Piero down under

Alessandro Del Piero has joined Sydney FC in what is the biggest move in Australian football history. Luca Cetta offers his perspective on the deal.

Alessandro Del Piero to play in Australia for Sydney FC. It’s incredible simply to type that. This is a huge deal for Australian football. For Australian based fans of the player, like myself, it doesn’t get much better.

The Juventus legend on Wednesday announced he will join the A-League club for two years, earning $2m a season. Money well spent in my opinion. There are not too many names bigger in the football world. On Thursday, Del Piero occupied the front and back page of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph at a time when the two biggest sports – Australian rules football and rugby league – are entering their post-season Finals. The A-League rarely occupies those positions.

When news of the negotiations came through some people doubted he would sign for an Australian club. Others were sceptical of what he could offer. Initial fears were allayed by joy and enthusiasm when it was clear he signed on the dotted line. And for those not too familiar with the man, his words in the Press conference left them reaching the same conclusion others have known for years – Del Piero is a class act.

The move has been compared to David Beckham’s stint at Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS. Like the Englishman, the 37-year-old has a chance to leave a legacy on the sport in this country, something he reiterated this week. “I’ve got the desire and determination to help the sport grow, that’s a big drive for me. I want to play in front of full stadiums. It’s a great honour that there is so much excitement about me coming to Australia. I will give everything I can.” He called it ‘Project Sydney’.

Pinturicchio’s move to Australia has offered the A-League a shot-in-the-arm. While steadily growing over its first seven seasons, there was a feeling of stagnation. The homecomings of Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton were a boost last season, but Del Piero is by far the biggest star to venture down under.

When the A-League commenced in 2005-06, Sydney FC were dubbed ‘Bling FC’ and the glamour club. They secured former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke as their ‘marquee’ player – one who is paid outside the salary cap – and World Cup winner Pierre Littbarski as Coach. The duo would lead Sydney to success in the inaugural season, but then departed. They won the title again in 2009-10, but failed to recapture that early magic off the pitch.

Their newest marquee is already creating a positive buzz. Sydney FC membership numbers reportedly shot through the roof yesterday, with fans eager to secure their spot to see the great man. They begin away in New Zealand against Wellington on October 6. A week later the No 10 makes his home debut at the 45,000 capacity Allianz Stadium against Newcastle, before squaring off versus Western Sydney in the first ever Sydney derby.

Del Piero is the second Italian World Cup winner to play in Australia. The first was Francesco Graziani, who had a brief spell with APIA Leichhardt in 1988. He is also the first since Romario’s guest stint for Adelaide United in 2006. Yet Del Piero will be the one to make the greatest contribution to the game in this country. He has the technical ability to keep fans entertained and Sydney have already promised creative licence on the pitch to work his magic. Now that the seemingly impossible has become a reality, I for one cannot wait to see Del Piero live in Australia.

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Have your say...
I am not a Juve supporter at all and have not liked what they did to the sport in Italy over the last few years, but Del Piero is a class act who is most welcome here in Sydney. I am a football fan, Sydney FC supporter and will be going to the games for him. The game in Australia need people like him and not negative types. Benvento Alex
on the 12th September, 2012 at 12:14am
I hate anything that has come out of juventus football club including del pierro but I have to be honest to say this is the biggest signing in sporting history in this country and good luck. I also can't stand Sydney FC & I will be supporting Western Sydney Wanderers
on the 11th September, 2012 at 8:01am
Dear Anonymous, get over it. The A league is the future of Australian football. Stop living in the past, stop complaining and support our game.
on the 9th September, 2012 at 10:52am
As a long time Juve supporter it will be great to see Alex in the A-league. It's a pity my team Adelaide United don't have an intelligent management team and don't have enough finiancal backers to attract a player of his quality. Plus the lure of living in the harbour city, no doubt with prime harbourside views in a luxurious seaside apartment is hard to top. Adelaide just cannot compete with that. PS Marco D. You can catch the A-league season through Fox Sports. 
on the 9th September, 2012 at 3:35am
I have a message for Juventus fans...please, please, please stop whinning. Just remember where we were 2 years ago. We had just finished the previous season 7th and had lost 15 league games. We had expensive sub-standard players like Amauri, Diego, Felipe Melo and Poulsen (the worst Juve player ever), who's combined transfer fees totalled 80 million. Now we have top class players, a Bianconeri legend leading us, are Champions of Italy, Super Cup winners and unbeaten in 41 games. Just enjoy!!!
on the 8th September, 2012 at 5:11pm
Lets be honest... He still should be at JUVE!!! And it is all JUVE's fault that he is not there!!! They havent even tried to replace him!! and what we get is Bednter!!! wtf!! Juve deserve what they get this season, and that is hard to write as a juve fan, but im disgusted in them!! Man U don't treat giggs and scholes like JUVE have!! Terrible decisions!!!

All the Best ALE we will miss you!!! (where can we see A-League games??)
on the 8th September, 2012 at 5:51am
Alex will be a great ambassador of Italian football in that part of the world. We wish you all the best.

Forza Ale!
on the 7th September, 2012 at 9:30pm
on the 7th September, 2012 at 5:43pm
You done well Del Piero but now you should just all means live in australlia but dont play in such a poor league...players who go to A-League / MLS are jokers
on the 7th September, 2012 at 2:10pm
It's a shame really that the Juve legend is going to play in Australia. No offence to the Australian league - but I could not have imagined that Del Piero will be playing anywhere but Juventus.

I wish him all the best though. Can't wait for his return to the Juve headquarters in the near future!
on the 7th September, 2012 at 1:12pm
Del Piero is one of the greatest legends to play football along with other big names like Pele,Maradona,Platini etc he wrote the italian football history during 90's - 2000's
Good luck Alex!You will be always rememberd,your goals and performances against Real,Germany etc will remain i our memory and hearts.It was a great pleasure to see you playing for Juve and we will follow you in your new experience!
We were lucky to live and see you great man,thank you for all you have done for Juve.
Forza Ale!
on the 7th September, 2012 at 12:53pm
Good luck to Sydney FC. It must go down as one of the biggest transfer bargains of the century!
I miss our Captain already, Juve will never be the same for me.

$160 (+ postage) for a Del Piero Sydney FC jersey??? Come on guys I would like to support you but thats insane.
on the 7th September, 2012 at 12:31pm
well, I'd hope he continue to play in Europen Team... But whatever Del Piero like to do, he just do it, and what I do is just to follow him.

Forza Ale!
on the 7th September, 2012 at 11:47am
I can't wait to see him come to Brisbane
on the 7th September, 2012 at 11:11am
I'm glad ADP went to Australia, seeing him play for Liverpool or Celtic or any other European side would have been depressing. Yes it was disapointing to see him leave Juventus but atleast he left in good terms with the club & fans.

I wish ADP all the best & hope one day, I get to see him play....

**insert facepalm**
on the 7th September, 2012 at 10:33am
This is the best thing for Australian soccer/football fans. He has shown a desire to play in Australia and he wants to make a valid contribution, unlike Romario who looked happy to be on a holiday.

I doubt that Italo-Australian fans could ask for anything more. Finally the Italians in Sydney can watch him regularly in the flesh and even those in Adelaide and Melbourne will get a glimpse of the calcio legend.
on the 7th September, 2012 at 10:26am
im going to miss seeing him player, was one of footballing icons, Sydney FC have got them self a bargin
on the 7th September, 2012 at 10:11am
What a player and what a career. That goal against germany in 2006 semi final still gives my goose pimples, absolute magic. A true Italian legend. All the best Alex out loss is Australia s gain. Back to tonights game Forza Italia. Lets put Bulgaria to the sword a 3-0 win would be great although it is likely to be tight. Would be great to see us score a few goals and put a real marker than to the rest of teh group. The Atomic Ant needs to produce tonight like he has for Juve so far this season.
on the 7th September, 2012 at 10:10am
Have not cared in the slightest in the A League as I'm an old school Adelaide City fan. I'm now already planning my holidays around watching Del Piero play. Money well spent and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall around the head quarters of the rival football codes. They simply can't compete with this.
on the 7th September, 2012 at 10:05am
Australia is very lucky... and despite what some people say( Gab Marcotti) I still believe he has lot to give and he can certainly raise the game " down under" for more then a couple of weeks. It is so strange to see a Juve game, knowing that he is not there. He is missed :(
on the 7th September, 2012 at 9:17am

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