The signing of the Juventus and Italian legend, Alessandro Del Piero, by Sydney FC was one of the most talked-about moves in the A-league. From the massive media coverage to increased crowds during matches, this was definitely impactful signing. There were many factors that made the signing of this soccer star the talk not only in the Australian soccer arena but also across the world.
First, Del Piero was 37 years of age during the time he signed a two-year contract with Sydney FC. Most people that were looking for field performance were not sure whether he would deliver for the team. He was in his twilight as a footballer, and thus signing him instead a younger potential player didn’t make sense. The second debate on the signing of the former Sydney FC Marquee was financial implication to the club.
With an AU$3.5 million contract for each of the first two seasons, he became the highest-paid footballer in Australia at that time. This was a huge investment that most people deemed unnecessary. But the management of the Sydney FC would prove critics wrong later.
“I’m happy to announce that I just signed for two for Sydney FC,” said Del Piero upon signing of the contract. His signing for Sydney was not just any other contract, but a realisation of his dream to help grow football in other parts of the world. Australia happened to be his first destination. “…I wanted 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.”
He definitely achieved this because, during his time at the club, the quality of the game improved tremendously. The signing did not only put the Sydney FC on the news headline but also elevated the stature of A-League. The Sydney Morning Herald was one of the papers that covered the signing to its entire back-page. This created a sensation with not only the fans of the Sydney FC but also the entire A-league.
Due to the increased media attention, swollen crowds started forming even during the training sessions. Do you know that the club had to employ security even for training sessions? Well, that’s the kind of impact that the signing of this mega soccer star had created. It is, without a doubt, that Sydney FC reaped big as this signing brought huge financial benefits, especially in merchandise sales. So, the cost of signing is just a fraction of the Del Piero related income.
One of the biggest impacts Del Piero had is the improvement of the quality of the game in the league. During the time he played for the Sydney FC, the team improved immensely. That’s because of the kind of experience he brought to the club. Although the club did not make it to the final during his first season and got knocked out in the first week of finals the second seasons, his contribution on the pitch was huge.
Who would forget the debut free-kick goal against Newcastle jets in from on the 35,000 fans? It is one of the goals that brought the house down. The 7-0 romp against Wellington Phoenix and the stunning 5-0 away win against the Melbourne Victory. These are just a few of the matches he played a central role.
Sydney FC fans will remember Del Piero’s performance and overall contribution to the team for a loner to come. It is during his time that the crowd risen to an average of 57%. To the larger league, there was always an increase in crowd figures whenever they were playing Sydney FC. Alessandro Del Piero will definitely be listed among soccer stars in history that improved A-League standards.