WESTERN NSW Football operations and development manager Andrew Fearnley believes Sydney FC’s acquisition of Juventus superstar Alessandro Del Piero has the potential to leave a lasting legacy on football in Australia.
Del Piero knocked back offers from English Premier League giants Liverpool and Scottish powerhouse Celtic to sign with the two-time A League champions, arriving this week in the biggest coup in the code’s history in Australia.
Already the buzz surrounding the Italian World Cup winner debut match on October 6 is deafening.
But is all the noise worth it?
“I think so,” Mr Fearnley said.
“The more our game is in the media the more people will know about it, and certainly the publicity will continue when he starts playing.
“He has just won the Serie A title with Juventus last year. He’ll be coming over in peak playing conditions and certainly I believe the hype will help with junior registrations into next year.
“He has said publicly he wants to leave a legacy here in Australia and I think he is capable of doing that.
“He’s an attacking footballer. He’s a crowd pleaser.”
Orange Waratahs president Darren Sinclair said a handful of players from his club had already indicated they’d go down to Sydney to watch Del Piero in action.
“It’s pretty big news for Australia,” Mr Sinclair said.
“There’s a lot of buzz amongst the FC fans at the club.”
He added football in Orange would benefit for the buzz.
“I reckon it will,” he said.
“Obviously a lot of younger kids probably haven’t seen him play but guys my age, we’ve seen him play a fair bit of football.”
The Italian will earn a cool $4million over two years he will play in the A League.
It’s a lot of money on a 37-year-old.
But it’s money well spent according to Mr Fearnley.
“I think he is being paid less here than he would be if he stayed in Europe,” he said.
“It’s Sydney’s decision where they spend the money and they obviously think they’ll recoup that money through added sponsorship and gate takings.
“He is arguably the best player to play in the A League. Harry Kewell attracted national headlines when he signed to play with Melbourne but Del Pierro, it’s world-wide news