Forget the endless wheeling and dealing of the Premier League, Sydney FC has pulled off the biggest coup of the day with the news that former Juventus and Italy star Alessandro Del Piero has agreed to join the club.
The 37 year old turned down a number of other offers from the likes of Glasgow Celtic and FC Sion, much to the delight of football fans across Australia.
“This is huge for Sydney FC, huge for the A-League and huge for Australian football,” said Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow.
“We feel honoured that Alessandro has decided to play for Sydney FC and we share his excitement that a move to Sydney FC will create a lasting legacy for football in this country.”
A fee of around $2 million is being mentioned for the six month stint, and if that is the case it will make Del Piero the highest paid player in A-League history.
Of course, the A-League has attracted some big names in the past with Robbie Fowler, Dwight Yorke and Romario amongst others enjoying mixed fortunes, but Del Piero is likely to surpass all of those in terms of hype and putting bums of seats, with Australia home to a very large ethinic Italian community.
Not only will Sydney FC attract bumper crowds for their home games, but other clubs will also benefit from increased attendances due to the player’s superstar status.
No contracts have been signed as of yet but chief executive Tony Pignata is now set to fly to Italy to finalise the deal for the player who was capped 96 times by his country, won the World Cup, and has six Serie A titles to his name (not including the two stripped from Juventus for the calciopoli scandal).
He is also Juventus’ all time record goalscorer with 289 goals to his name.
The news of the signing broke at around 7.30pm Sydney time tonight and within minutes, the club’s name was trending worldwide with fans and players of Del Piero’s now rival clubs expressing their delight.
It is hoped that Del Piero can have a similar impact on the A-League to that of David Beckham on Major League Soccer when he moved to LA Galaxy in 2007.