Delhi Dynamos on the brink of signing Del Piero
Delhi Dynamos are all set to sign Italy's World Cup winning football star Alessandro del Piero as their marquee player for the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) that will be held Oct 12-Dec 20.
Delhi Dynamos have almost finalised the deal with Del Piero's brother and agent Stefano and the contract would be signed later this week, confirmed a top official of the franchise.
"We have almost finalised our deal with Del Piero as the marquee player. A deal will be signed in a couple of days," a top official of Delhi Dynamos told IANS Monday on the condition of anonymity.
The 39-year-old, also a former Italy captain, mutually agreed to part ways with Sydney FC in the Australian A-League after the end of the season in April. He was also the marquee player with Sydney FC.
Delhi Dynamos are also awaiting a final call on Del Piero's negotiations with Hunagrian club Honved FC. The Italian star, who was part of Italy's 2006 World Cup winning team, is tipped to become the first player since the late Ferenc Puskas to wear the Honved No.10 jersey.
Del Piero, who has also been linked with a move to Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US, will be the biggest attraction in the ISL, a cash-rich football league in India.
Del Piero is also the third World Cup winner after Frenchmen David Trezeguet and Robert Pires to sign as marquee players for the ISL.
Trezeguet will be seen in action with FC Pune City while Pires is also is talks with some ISL franchises.
Both Del Piero and Trezequet are a part of FIFA 100 - list of 125 greatest ever living footballers picked Brazil legend Pele.
Like Honved, the organisers of ISL are also hoping to boost the profile of the league with the addition of Del Piero, who also proved influential in raising the profile of Sydney FC.
Del Piero is considered one of the stars in Italian football and has 91 caps with the Azzuris.
He arrived as a teenager at Italian giants Juventus in 1993 and spent 19 years, including 11 years as captain, with the Old Lady of Turin.
By the time he left in 2012, Del Piero had played more than 700 games (the most by any Juve player in history), scored a record 289 goals and won every trophy there was to win.
With Juventus, Del Piero won eight Serie A titles, a Champions League and a Coppa Italia.
But it was loyalty towards the club in 2006 that sealed his place as a club legend.
After the infamous Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, the club was relegated to Serie B for its role in a fixing scandal and big names like Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Patrick Vieira, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Lilian Thuram all moved on.
But Del Piero alongwith legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon stayed on with the club and got Juventus back into the top flight by winning Serie B in 2007.
Del Piero also scored a penalty in the shoot-out of the 2006 World Cup final against France that Italy won. Del Piero is currently Italy's joint fourth all-time leading scorer.
(Posted on 25-08-2014)