Alessandro Del Piero should hang up is boots for good if he can’t stay at Sydney.
He has had an amazing career and despite playing in a struggling Sydney FC side, he has still provided A-League supporters with moments of magic but “the Harbour City” should be “Pintericchio’s” final stop as a player.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Sky Blues won’t be extending Del Piero’s contract for another season and that the US and Japan are likely targets for the 39-year-old.
He was earning about AU$4 million a season and there was talk of him becoming player-coach with Sydney FC. That would have been ideal for him because he could build the team around him and do it in a manner that would really suit him. He would also have greater presence and control over his teammates.
If Del Piero actually leaves Sydney, what will he try to achieve? Playing at 40 will be a demanding task and the MLS and J-League are stronger and more established leagues than the A-League. The only plus for him to join one of those leagues is if he wants to earn more money than what he does with the Sky Blues.
He is already struggling with fitness issues. When he does play, he will stay on until the final whistle but he hardly runs. That aspect of that game is gone and therefore he has to rely on his technique and football smarts. Can he really be expected to cruise on the ball or walk into spaces in the J-League or MLS?
The A-League is still a developing league and although Sydney as a team has failed to live up to expectations in the last two seasons, Del Piero has been great for the Sky Blues and the A-League in general.
He should focus on creating his brand more in Australia and Sydney should look at it from that perspective too. If a Serie A, UEFA Champions League and World Cup winner like Del Piero can play in the A-League, so can other stars from the past.
Hopefully Sydney can make the finals and the board can change their minds for Del Piero’s and their own sake. If he can’t stay, he shouldn’t go on playing.