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Avondale FC are reportedly attempting to pull off a sensational (albeit temporary) signing: that of former Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
According to Fox Sports, Avondale are said to be in talks with Pirlo to play a single game for them against Sydney FC when the sides clash in the FFA Cup quarter-finals at ABD Stadium next Wednesday.
Pirlo was part of the Italian team which defeated Australia in the Round of 16 and go on to claim the 2006 World Cup. The Azzurri famously defeated France 5-3 on penalties during the final after a one-all draw, with Pirlo slotting the first of the spot kicks.
After spending ten years at Milan and another four at Juventus, Pirlo moved to New York City in 2015 and retired in 2017 after making 60 appearances for the club, taking his career total to 570. The midfielder made his debut for Italy in 2002 and continued with the national team until 2015, playing 116 games.
The 39-year-old would be one of the biggest signings in Australian football history should it be pulled off, however unlikely it may seem. Avondale have impressed in their last two FFA Cup outings, beating the Marconi Strikers 4-1 in the Round of 32 and the Devonport Strikers by the same scoreline in the Round of 16.
According to The Australian’s Ray Gatt, Avondale are not commenting on the issue at this time, however, it sounds like they have reached out to Pirlo’s management.
I have been in touch with Avondale regarding the Pirlo situation. They are not commenting on the matter except to say they are waiting to hear from Pirlo’s management.
— Ray Gatt (@Gatty54) September 12, 2018
This isn’t the first time an NPL club have attempted to secure a high profile signature. Back in 2016, the Wollongong Wolves entered talks with Brazilian megastar Ronaldinho to wind his career down on the New South Wales south coast.
That deal ultimately fell through, but there may be more chance of Pirlo making a one-off appearance, rather than committing to an entire season of NPL in his post-career endeavours.
The A-League has of course been awash with signings through the off-season, the biggest of those being Usain Bolt’s trial run on the Central Coast.
However, with players like Keisuke Honda, Ola Toivonen and Siem de Jong among the more recognised footballing names heading down under, it’s been a productive off-season for the league so far.