No fear! Del Piero looking forward to the challenge in Australia with Sydney
08:42 GMT, 17 September 2012
Alessandro Del Piero says he has no fear about what is expected of him in Australia and the hope that his star power will revitalise the A-League.
Del Piero spoke at his first press conference in Australia on Monday, saying he welcomes the pressure that will go with being the A-League's biggest name.
He said: 'I know there will be a lot of expectation and I love that. I played 19 years with Juventus and in Juventus you have to win every game, every year.’
Up for the challenge: Alessandro Del Piero says he is not put off by the expectation
The 37-year-old joined Sydney FC for a reported 1.2 million a year as the biggest signing in the history of the A-League.
He turned down offers from Southampton, among other clubs, to play in Australia and said he hoped to make a difference to Sydney FC and to the A-League.
'It was (an easy decision) because the project here is interesting,’ Del Piero said. '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.
‘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.'
Del Piero said he was determined to contribute to Sydney FC.
Mobbed: Del Piero is one of the biggest names to play in Australia
'All my life I play for winning. I'm here for winning … I'm here because I trust in the win,’ he said.
'First of all I am here for Sydney FC. Competing for Sydney FC. Then we hope, about the A-League growing up day by day … and this is hard work.'
Del Piero said he was aware that Australia's football culture has been based on post-war immigration from Europe.
'In everybody there is soccer blood and we hope to wake up that,’ he said.
Del Piero, a member of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning team and who scored a club-record 286 goals for Juventus, is expected to help bring greater exposure -and spectators – to the struggling A-League, which has suffered from declining crowds and the folding of two teams in the past two seasons.
His impact was immediate and hundreds of fans turned out at Sydney Airport on Sunday, some waiting for hours, to welcome him on his arrival.
Here to win: Del Piero says he is aiming to win the A League title
Del Piero's decision to play in Australia is being compared with David Beckham's impact on the game in the United States when he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Sydney chief executive Tony Pignata, who traveled to Turin nearly two weeks ago to get Del Piero's signature on the contract, said he was pleased with the response of fans – more than 2,000 club memberships have been sold since Del Piero's contract was signed.
Welcome to Sydney: Del Piero is mobbed by fans at Sydney airport after touching down over the weekend
Pignata also said 15,000 Sydney FC jerseys with Del Piero's No. 10 and name on the back had been manufactured and were selling fast, with orders from around the world.
Del Piero is due to train with his Sydney teammates for the first time on Tuesday and his first official public appearance in Sydney is expected next Sunday – September 23.
His first game for Sydney could be against Newcastle next Saturday, a preseason match scheduled to be played in the Central Coast town of Budgewoi north of Sydney.
However, if Del Piero plays, it is expected to be moved to a larger stadium at nearby Gosford.
Sydney play their first-round match of the new A-League season at Wellington, New Zealand on October 6.