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Buckley, Emerton hail Del Piero coup

6 September 2012 05:08

A-League heavyweights Ben Buckley and Brett Emerton have hailed Sydney FC's signing of Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero.

Sydney completed the coup on Wednesday, and will pay the 37-year-old a reported AU$2million per season across a two-year deal.

Outgoing Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley praised the club for securing such a high-profile target.

"I commend Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow and his board for having a bold vision and making it happen," Buckley said.

"Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata and the club's adviser Lou Sticca deserve praise for their tenacity and ability to conclude the agreement.

"Undoubtedly, this signing will have an immediate impact on attendances, membership, TV ratings and corporate support for the club and the A-League

"The arrival of Del Piero will also impact on the technical quality of A-League, which was rated as an all-time high last season. This will ensure we remain in the elite tier of the top Asian professional leagues.

"Above and beyond the technical element, the A-League's image and reputation will grow.

"Season eight of the Hyundai A-League is shaping up to be the best ever, with the introduction of Western Sydney Wanderers and now the arrival of a world-class superstar in Alessandro Del Piero."

And Del Piero's new team-mate Brett Emerton also paid tribute to the A-League's marquee man, declaring his signing one of the most significant days in the history of the competition.

"This is just the shot in the arm football in Australia needs," Emerton wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.

"I really hope his arrival will see more people than ever sign up for Sydney FC memberships and huge crowds flood Allianz Stadium throughout the season.

"I truly believe this is one of the most significant days in the history of our club - and the game in Australia.

"I can honestly say that when I left Blackburn for Sydney FC last year, I didn't expect to be playing alongside someone like Del Piero.

"You only have to look at the calibre of clubs internationally that were chasing him to realise that, even at 37, he is still a world-class striker."

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