x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Sydney move will be no holiday, insists Del Piero

A-League chiefs hope the arrival of the Juventus legend will be a shot in the arm to football in Australia, as the Italian insists he is not looking to take it easy.

New Sydney FC signing Alessandro Del Piero poses with the club's CEO Tony Pignata after agreeing a deal to join the club.
New Sydney FC signing Alessandro Del Piero poses with the club's CEO Tony Pignata after agreeing a deal to join the club.

SYDNEY // Alessandro Del Piero insists he wants to take football in Australia to a new level after completing his move to Sydney FC.

Football chiefs in Australia hope the arrival for the former Juventus legend will give a major boost to the sport both locally and on a global scale.

The 37-year-old agreed a two-year deal to join the A-League side, worth a reported US$2m (Dh7.34m) a season, despite interest from a host of clubs around the world - including English Premier League side Liverpool.

But Del Piero, who made 513 appearances and scored more than 200 goals during his 19 years at Juventus, insisted he was not heading to Australia for a holiday.

"I'm coming to Sydney to score and to win and I'm hoping that Australian football, with my help, can grow," he said.

"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.

"I will give everything and put everything into it I can."

Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley said Del Piero's signing would significantly boost the A-League's global image and accelerate growth of the competition, which has been running for just eight seasons.

"Undoubtedly, this signing will have an immediate impact on attendances, membership, TV ratings and corporate support for the club and the A-League," he said.

"All clubs will benefit when Alessandro comes to town. His stature in international football is well known, but it's his desire to put back into the game and create a legacy in Australia that's so impressive.

"The arrival of Del Piero will also impact on the technical quality of A-League, which was rated at an all-time high last season. This will ensure we remain in the elite tier of the top Asian professional leagues," he added.

Del Piero's signing is the biggest coup in A-League history and Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow said it was "for all Australian football fans".

"Alessandro Del Piero is a global icon of the game and we are honoured he has chosen Sydney FC, ahead of many other options, as the club where he will begin the next chapter of his illustrious football career," he said.

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