Del Piero embraces the pressure

By Adrian Warren,

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11 Have your say

    Former Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero speaks at his first press conference in Sydney on September 17, 2012 as he begins a two-year stint with Sydney FC in Australia's A-League. The signing of Del Piero, who spent 19 years at Juventus, has been hailed as a significant moment for the A-League, which is entering its eighth season but has struggled over the years with patchy crowds and financial troubles. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD

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    Alessandro Del Piero relishes the expectation associated with his move to Sydney FC, whose officials are tipping a sellout home debut for the Italian football superstar.

    Del Piero gave an assured and charming performance in his first media conference in Australia on Monday, answering questions in English and his native tongue.

    The World Cup winner didn’t have any qualms about the level of expectation his reported $2-million-a-season deal brought with it.

    “I know there’s a lot of expectation, and I love that,” Del Piero said.

    “I played 19 years with Juventus – and in Juventus you have to win every game, every year.

    “Fortunately a lot of the time that happened – but all my life I play for winning. I’m here for winning.”

    Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata doubted Del Piero would play in the club’s last pre-season trial against Newcastle on Saturday.

    “I think it will be difficult for him to come in straight away and play, that decision will be done by (coach) Ian (Crook) and the medical staff,” Pignata said.

    He said shirt and membership sales were progressing well and was bullish about the crowd for Del Piero’s home debut against Newcastle at Allianz Stadium on October 13.

    “On Friday the national sales go online and we are really expecting that those sales will go well, and we can actually get a sellout,” Pignata said.

    Del Piero, who expressed no concerns about playing in the Australian heat, said he would initially be completely focused on Sydney FC.

    “Then we hope, about the A-League growing up – day by day … and this is hard work, but one of the objectives of all the people who are in soccer,” Del Piero said.

    He understood it was a young league and was aware the nation’s football background was based on post-war migration from European countries.

    “Everybody I think has soccer blood, and we hope to wake up that,” Del Piero said.

    He said his family were excited about the move, though he had to do a deal with his four-year-old son: “I said ‘we’ll go to the special zoo where there’s kangaroos’ and he said ‘Ok, I’m happy’.”

    Most of his friends accepted he wanted a change but felt he could have chosen somewhere closer to Italy.

    “I said ‘yes, but I choose the best place I can choose for this moment’ and I think this now and I’m sure I will think this at the end of the season.”

    He said it was an easy decision to make after Pignata and player agent Lou Sticca explained their vision of Project Sydney.

    “Sometimes I decide with my feelings, but this decision was not only with my feelings, it was with the head and with the feeling and I’m sure that’s OK.”

    Quizzed about his conditioning, the 37-year-old forward said he had spent two months working with a personal trainer and a young team.

    “I do everything I can to stay in better condition, now I need to go with the team,” said Del Piero, who will have his first training session with his new team mates on Tuesday.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • September 18th 2012 @ 8:27am
      AGO74 said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      The man is class. Very pleasantly surprised by his English skills, humility and also sense of humour.

      You could tell during his i/v with Fox sports news last night that he was severely jet-lagged with tired twitchy movements and some answers which didn’t make complete sense but he still displayed all of the things I mentioned in the first paragraph.

    • September 18th 2012 @ 8:54am
      Midfielder said | September 18th 2012 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      Hand on heart not the other thing … he appears to me to be a class above most if not all sporting folk in Australian….

      I have developed an enormous respect for the man…

    • September 18th 2012 @ 9:10am
      Ian said | September 18th 2012 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      first time and maybe only time i will sit watch a 20 minute press conference for any sports star.

      he is a step above most.

      though i thought all his answers were fine needing a couple of translations along the way.

      his a-league trips flying around australia will be longer than the trips he has made for most of his career.

      i liked one of his answers to the question on playing in heat in australia. he’s played in opposite extreme weather in subzero temperatures in italy so this will be quite a change for him

    • September 18th 2012 @ 10:12am
      Tim said | September 18th 2012 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      A class act.

      • September 18th 2012 @ 2:14pm
        pete4 said | September 18th 2012 @ 2:14pm | ! Report


    • Roar Pro

      September 18th 2012 @ 10:59am
      Phil Coorey said | September 18th 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      The scenes at the airport were reasons I love sport so much, that was awesome. Can’t wait to watch him live in Brisbane.

    • September 18th 2012 @ 11:01am
      soulranch said | September 18th 2012 @ 11:01am | ! Report

      I work for the Quarantine Dept in Sydney and was talking to the guys who met ADP for his post flight clearances. He had coppers and security guards telling him to take the side door and jump straight into a car but he said “no, these people came to see me. the least i can do is go out and say hello to them”. I really hope the humility of the man rubs off on the rest of Australian sportspeople.

      • Roar Pro

        September 18th 2012 @ 11:25am
        Phil Coorey said | September 18th 2012 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        That story makes me love him even more.

        • September 18th 2012 @ 4:56pm
          Punter said | September 18th 2012 @ 4:56pm | ! Report


      • September 18th 2012 @ 5:02pm
        Bondy. said | September 18th 2012 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

        A Gentleman.

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