Sydney confirm Del Piero deal

  • Last Updated: September 5 2012, 16:50 BST

Sydney FC have confirmed the most high-profile signing in their history by announcing the capture of Alessandro Del Piero.

Alessandro Del Piero: Sydney deal confirmed

The move had been mooted for most of the summer, but appeared to have come under some threat owing to reported interest from Premier League sides Liverpool and Southampton.

But there was relief all round in Sydney on Wednesday when, speaking at a press conference in Turin, the 37-year-old forward confirmed he was heading down under on a two-year deal.

"I am extremely happy to be joining Sydney FC," said the Juventus icon on his new club's official website.

"This is a very big moment for me because I want to continue my career in a new part of the world where I can make a major contribution and help grow the game I love.

"The most important thing for me has always been the football and I want to help Sydney FC be successful.

"This is an exciting journey for me and I look forward to joining my new team-mates in Sydney shortly."

Del Piero's reputation precedes him in Italy, where he is regarded as one of the country's greatest ever players.

A 91-cap international, he left Juventus at the end of last season with 704 appearances and 289 goals to his name, days after winning a sixth Scudetto with the club.

He also has a Champions League and World Cup winner's medal in his cabinet and his new club are naturally delighted to have added him to their squad ahead of the forthcoming A-League season.

"This signing is a major coup for Sydney FC and marks an historic day for football in this country," said chairman Scott Barlow.

"This is 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."

It emerged this morning that Liverpool may have been one of the clubs also in the running for Del Piero's signature.

The Reds are short of striking options after failing to secure a replacement for Andy Carroll before the transfer window shut, but would have been entitled to make a move for free agent Del Piero.

"Liverpool have come in - and they're a big club, there's no denying that," chief executive Tony Pignata told Fox Sports Australia.

"But I think the attraction of Australia might sway us."

The player himself later confirmed as much.

In a lengthy explanation on his official website, he wrote of the commitment Sydney had shown to him, as well as the prospect of heading to Australia, had made his mind up.

"It wasn't an easy decision, I wanted to evaluate with great attention all the possibilities and offers I received in these months. I've made my choice and it's Sydney and the only thing I can say today is that I can't wait to start," he said.

"Why Sydney? First of all, because they really wanted to have me there. They weren't the only ones, but the project they presented, seemed to be specially tailored for me, it won me over both as an athlete and a person.

"I'm moving to Australia not only to continue my football career and to give my best for my new team, but also to live a new experience that surely will be new for me, enlightening and exciting.

"I was lucky to win everything during my career and to end it in Italy winning once again with the team of my life, Juventus. I was looking for something new, something different, something that wouldn't have things in common with my past, a totally new experience. And I have found it in Sydney."

Sydney's first A-League fixture is on October 6 away to Wellington, with Del Piero's first home game expected to come against Newcastle a week later.

He will link-up with former Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton and ex-Morecambe man Terry McFlynn.

Alessandro Del Piero factfile:

1974: Born November 9th in Conegliano.

1992: Makes his professional debut for Padova in Serie B at the age of 17.

1993: Signs for Juventus on 28th June making his debut against Foggia on 12th September before scoring his first goal in a Juventus shirt a week later against Reggina.

1995: March - Made his international debut for Italy against Estonia.

May - Helped Juventus win Serie A for the first time in nine years, the Italian Cup for the first time in five years and become runners-up in the UEFA Cup.

1996: January - Won the Italian Super Cup, the first time Juventus had ever won the trophy.

May - Helped win the Champions League for only the second time in Juventus' history and was the competitions top goal scorer with six goals.

November - Won the Intercontinental Cup scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over River Plate and was voted the Intercontinental most valuable player.

1997: February - Won the UEFA Super Cup with an aggregate 9-2 victory against Paris St Germain scoring two goals.

May - Won Serie A and helped Juventus become Champions League runners up scoring in the 3-1 final defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

August - Won the Italian Super Cup for the second time.

1998: May - Won Serie A for the third time and was the Champions League top goals scorer once more as he guided Juventus to a third successive final, racking up 10 goals. They however lost 1-0 to Real Madrid in the final, Del Piero was voted Italian footballer of the year.

1999: Won the Intertoto Cup and qualification into the UEFA Cup.

2000: Euro 2000 runner-up with Italy, used mainly as a substitute he scored one goal in the tournament.

He also became the world's best-paid football player from salary, bonuses and advertising revenue.

2002: Won Serie A and his third Italian Super Cup scoring both goals to give Juventus a 2-1 victory over Parma.

2003: Won his fifth Serie A title with Juventus and the Italian Super Cup later in the year.

2005: Helped Juventus win Serie A once more.

2006: May - Again helped Juventus win Serie A, although this title along with the 2005 Serie A championship was stripped from Juventus over allegations of match fixing although no players were involved.

June - Del Piero helped Italy win the 2006 FIFA World Cup, scoring an extra-time goal in the semi-final against Germany and a penalty in the shoot-out in the final against France.

2007: Committed his future to Juventus after they were relegated for match fixing, he helped the club win Serie B despite starting the season on -nine points and was the league's top goal scorer with 20 goals.

2008: May - Was Serie A top goal scorer for the newly-promoted Juventus scoring 21 goals and was voted Italian footballer of the year for the second time, 10 years after first winning the award.

June - Later in the year he became only the second Italian footballer to appear at seven major international championships (Euro 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and World Cup 1998, 2002, 2006)

August - Won his last cap for Italy, making 91 appearances in total scoring 27 goals.

2012: May - Lifted the Serie A trophy for his eighth and last time as a Juventus player, leaving after 19 years at the club, winning a total of 17 trophies. He is Juventus' all-time leading appearance maker and record goalscorer with 289 goals.

September: Signs for Sydney FC on a two-year deal.