Alessandro Del Piero has jokingly remarked he will assume Australian citizenship for the next two years, after being unveiled by Sydney FC on Wednesday.
"For the next two years, I am Australian," he said at his first Sydney FC press conference. "I'm happy to have signed with Sydney and for the next two years I will play with them.
The forward saw his 19-year allegiance with Juventus severed earlier in the summer, but will now continue his career with the A-League club, where he has agreed a two-year deal worth around 2 million euros per season.
Speaking at his official presentation, Del Piero talked of his excitement at being offered the chance to sample a new culture and write his own legacy into Australian football.
"A lot of clubs contacted me, Italian teams too and I thank all of them. Today my new adventure starts and my emotions are mixed," Del Piero said.
"I hope Australian people love football."
Del Piero had been reportedly coveted by the likes of the Montreal Impact, Celtic, Tottenham and Sion, while Liverpool was also credited with an interest following their failure to land a striker on transfer deadline day.
"They were one of the clubs, amongst the non-Italian sides [interested], and I was surprised to be contacted by them," Del Piero said of the Reds' interest.
But it appears the delegation of Sydney CEO Tony Pignata and Australia-based agent Lou Sticca, who visited Turin to clinch the signing, was enough to convince the World Cup winner that his future lies in the A-League.
"This signing is a major coup for Sydney FC and marks a historic day for football in this country," Sydney chairman Scott Barlow said in a club statement. "This is for all Australian football fans.
"Alessandro Del Piero is a global icon of the game and we are honored 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
- Sydney FC