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Alessandro Del Piero signs deal with Sydney FC

Updated: Wednesday, 05 Sep 2012 17:46 | Comments

Alessandro Del Piero's arrival in Sydney is a coup for the A-League
Alessandro Del Piero's arrival in Sydney is a coup for the A-League

Former Italy and Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero is joining Sydney FC in a deal that will make him the highest-profile player in the A-League.

"I'm happy to announce that a few hours ago I signed a deal with the Sydney Football Club," Del Piero said.

"So for the next two years I suppose I can say that I'll be Australian. I'm starting a splendid and fantastic adventure. I couldn't have chosen a better situation or a better place."

The two-year deal is reportedly worth $2m per season, which will make Del Piero the highest paid athlete in Australia's four football codes, including rugby league, rugby union and Australian Rules.

The 37-year-old Del Piero reportedly turned down offers from English Premier League clubs Liverpool and Southampton.

"We touched all the continents," Del Piero said. "This choice is far away in terms of kilometres but it's very close in terms of philosophy. ... I can't wait to go and discover a country that everyone describes to me as fantastic."

The A-League, which has had several teams fold in the last two years due to financial problems and dwindling attendance, needs Del Piero as a draw card.

He was a member of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning team. He scored a club-record 286 goals in all competitions over 19 seasons with Juventus, although managed just five - and only two in Serie A - last season in limited playing time as the Turin club won its first Italian league title since before the 2006 match-fixing scandal.

"We're honored to have Alessandro sign for Sydney FC," club chief executive Tony Pignata said, sitting next to Del Piero at a press conference in Turin. "It's a momentous occasion."

The A-League's other past marquee signings have been formerly England-based Trinidad and Tobago star Dwight Yorke, who also played for Sydney in 2005-06, and former Liverpool forward Robbie Fowler, who played with the now-defunct North Queensland team and Perth Glory from 2009-11.

"The only question I asked was if we can win, and they responded ‘yes,"' Del Piero said. "I'm not going there for a vacation. I'm going there with total dedication."

Juventus announced early last season that it would not renew Del Piero's contract. He was also linked with moves to the Middle East, China, Argentina, the United States and Switzerland.

"It will be a big change for me after 19 years with a team which I will continue to support," Del Piero said. "I've done all I could have done here and there couldn't be a better choice for me."

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