Sydney FC captain Alessandro Del Piero says he’s nervous after long break from … – The Daily Telegraph
SYDNEY FC star Alessandro Del Piero is fidgety and thats a dangerous sign for the rest of the A-League.
Used to a six-week pre-season from his time in Europe, the Italian legend has itchy feet after spending the past four months preparing for the Frank Farina-coached Sky Blues’ season-opening clash against Newcastle at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
“The first game here will be amazing,’’ the soon-to-be 39-year-old Del Piero said yesterday at the A-League season launch at the same venue.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. It’s not usual for me to spend a long time, like four months, without games. In Italy, I spent one month and a half, then you start with that Serie A.
“That’s why I’m nervous.’’
The Juventus great had a stellar debut A-League season, but it wasn’t enough to propel the Sky Blues into the finals series.
A born winner, Del Piero won’t accept a similar failure this season, and that’s perhaps a reason he has been installed as Sydney’s new captain, taking over from Terry McFlynn.
“The pressure is on me. I’m not scared about that. I’m ready,’’ he said.
“I’m really happy that everything is focused on me … but you can win only with 11 (players) not one. That’s why we have to be prepared for every single situation in the game.
“I think we are stronger individually for sure, but if you want to win, you have to be stronger as a team. This is the most important thing.
“It’s part of the work of Frank and his staff to build a team. If we do that, we are for sure more stronger than last year.’’
Del Piero said he was a lot more settled going into his second A-League campaign after his late pre-season arrival last year.
“Now I come earlier than last year, with more understanding. I understand a little bit more about Australia, about the habits here,” he said.
“Every part of my life is easier this year than last year.’’
That’s music to the ears of Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop, who yesterday paid tribute to the A-League’s “big three’’ of Del Piero, Western Sydney Wanderers’ Japanese star Shinji Ono and Newcaste’s former England international striker Emile Heskey for returning to the competition for a second season.
Gallop also announced a new partnership with ABC radio, which will broadcast A-League matches live this season.
It further complements Fox Sports’ live coverage of all matches and SBS’s first season of showing Friday night matches on free-to-air television.
“It’s a tribute to all the fans that create the atmosphere,’’Gallop said.
“To those fans who power the game, we say thanks for making the show what it is — and bring all your energy to the games this season.’’