Italy legend Alessandro Del Piero has officially signed with Sydney FC in a two-year deal that will make him the highest-paid footballer in Australian football history.
The former Juventus great put paid to days of feverish speculation when he agreed to play in the Hyundai A-League, on a two-year contract, with an option for a third, worth a reported $2 million a year.
“This signing is a major coup for Sydney FC and marks a historic day for football in this country,” Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow said. “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."
Del Piero said he was excited to begin a new chapter of his illustrious football career in Sydney.
“I am extremely happy to be joining Sydney FC,” Del Piero said before facing the Italian press in Turin
“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 teammates in Sydney shortly.”
Del Piero, a World Cup and Champions League winner, is by far the biggest signing to grace the competition, and the deal is expected to give Sydney FC's membership a massive boost ahead of the 2012/13 season.
The signing represents an unprecedented coup for Sydney FC, the Hyundai A-League and Australian football.
Del Piero reportedly turned down offers from the likes of Liverpool and Celtic, and the chance to play in the UEFA Champions League, to take up the offer of creating a legacy for the game in this country.
The signing could also have a positive effect for the league as a whole. with FFA CEO Ben Buckley currently in negotiations for a new TV deal. Sky Italia is also reportedly interested in showing Sydney FC games in Italy.
There is also plenty of potential for Del Piero in Asia, with the Italian having a staff in Japan and offering huge opportunities for both club and player.