Alessandro Del Piero, whose record- breaking 19-year soccer career with Italian champion Juventus ended in May, is considering Australia as his next destination.
The 37-year-old Del Piero, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, held talks with Sydney FC yesterday about the possibility of joining the club for the 2012-13 season as its so-called marquee player, the A-League club said in a statement.
“We spoke about football, as well as the Sydney lifestyle and the ability for him to leave a lasting legacy in the game,” Sydney FC Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata said in the statement. “We presented him with what we think is a good package and we should get an answer within 48 hours.”
Sydney faces competition from clubs in Switzerland and Scotland to sign Del Piero, who became a free agent in May after scoring 208 goals in a record 513 matches for Juventus. He also played 91 games for the Italian national team and his 27 goals put him in a tie for fourth place on the country’s all-time goalscorers’ list.
Sydney has been a pioneer in bringing high-profile players to the A-League, which replaced the National Soccer League as Australia’s flagship soccer competition seven years ago.
The club made former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke its first marquee signing in 2005 and also brought Brazilian World Cup winner Juninho to Australia in 2007.
For the 2012-13 season starting Oct. 5, A-League rules allow clubs to sign an international player outside the team salary cap of $A2.48 million ($2.5 million).
During nearly two decades at Juventus, Del Piero won six Italian Serie A championships, one Champions League title and the Intercontinental Cup. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players selected by Pele as a part of the governing body’s centenary celebrations.
Scottish champion Celtic, which last night qualified for the Champions League group stage, and Switzerland’s FC Sion have also held preliminary discussion with Del Piero, U.K. newspapers including the Guardian reported.
“Del Piero is one of the true legends of football,” Pignata added. “If he was to come to Sydney FC it would be huge, not only for our club and the Sydney football community, but for the whole A-League.”
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