Sydney FC's fantastic ambition
The thought of Del Pierio playing in the A-League seems like a fantastic dream. Now Sydney FC have pulled it off, football in Australia just took a huge step forward.
Wow. Anyone who thought the Hyundai A-League might struggle this season, anyone who thought the game had something to prove, in the light of recent events and small-minded critics - bow down to Sydney FC.
The signing of Alessandro Del Piero - if the club confirms it next week - would be the biggest coup in the history of Australian football, arguably in Australian sport.
Del Piero! Del bloody Piero!
A World Cup winner with Italy, with 91 caps to his name. Six Serie A titles and a Champions League winner. Juventus-s all-time leading scorer. Genuine, all-round nice guy and - let-s be frank - not someone you would have thought in a million years we would ever see in the A-League.
The Daily Telegraph-s Tom Smithies said Sydney CEO Tony Pignata was “incredulous” as he left for Italy to tie things up next week. He-s not the only one.
Del Piero? One-time teammate of Zidane, Vieri, Inzaghi, Davids, Thuram, Nedved, Ibrahimvic, Cannavaro - and now Terry McFlynn?
We should stress that the deal hasn-t been confirmed yet. After Sydney-s initial announcement exploded last night - with @aleague and @SydneyFC trending worldwide on Twitter - the club had to issue a clarifying statement, saying “Alessandro Del Piero has not signed a contract with Sydney FC as yet. The two parties have agreed to have a meeting in Turin early next week to confirm the possibility of signing a contract.”
Part of me thinks Sydney FC have been playing this drama out for all its worth. They don-t just get one big headline out of it - by going public from the start they-ve had a whole week of back pages, with this one timed perfectly for the weekend papers.
Even as the other codes approach the culmination of their seasons, Sydney have booted their way into the public consciousness. If the transfer itself wasn-t audacious enough, the way the Sky Blues have handled it has been fantastic.
A-League clubs are always keen to express that their imports don-t come here for a holiday but the Aussie lifestyle is one of our most potent weapons. And for Del Piero, it-s also the chance to leave his mark on the game.
Imagine the numbers Del Piero could deliver -the crowds, the shirt sales, the media interest. Some might say you couldn-t call paying a 37-year-old $2 million for six months work an investment - Del Piero wouldn-t guarantee them the title, by any means - but if it comes off, Sydney FC would be the most talked about team in the country.
Yep, the A-League kicks off with the Melbourne derby, as Postecoglou-s new look Victory take on Aloisi-s Heart - but that-s just the entree.
Admit it; all anyone would be talking about is Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC. Sure, Del Piero can turn it on at the Stadio Olimpico but I-d like to see how he copes on a wet weekend at the Cake Tin!
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do no represent those of FFA.