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Sep 5, 2012

Alessandro Del Piero joins Sydney FC

Alessandro Del Piero signed a two-year, 4 million Australian dollar ($4.07 million) contract with Australian club Sydney FC on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old former Juventus striker held a news conference in Turin to confirm he has joined the A-League side.

Del Piero, who turns 38 in November, made 91 appearances for Italy and is the all-time leading goalscorer for Juventus.

"I am extremely happy to be joining Sydney FC," Del Piero said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "This is a very big moment for me because I want to continue my career in a new part of the world where I can make a major contribution and help grow the game I love. The most important thing for me has always been the football and I want to help Sydney FC be successful.

"This is an exciting journey for me and I look forward to joining my new team mates in Sydney shortly."

He is expected to make his debut for the Sky Blues on Oct. 6 against Wellington Phoenix. His first A-League match will take place a week later against the Newcastle Jets.

He joins a list of former stars to have joined the A-League late into their career that includes the likes of Robbie Fowler, Romario, Juninho and Dwight Yorke.

Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow called the signing a "major coup for Sydney FC and marks a historic day for football in this country," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"This is for all Australian football fans," he said, according to the newspaper. "Alessandro Del Piero is a global icon of the game and we are honored he has chosen Sydney FC, ahead of many other options, as the club where he will begin the next chapter of his illustrious football career."

Del Piero's move to Sydney hit the headlines last week, however, completion of the deal was delayed after Liverpool and Barclays Premier League rivals Southampton both reportedly made late offers.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers last week admitted his frustration at failing to bring in a replacement for Andy Carroll after the striker was loaned to West Ham before Friday's transfer deadline.

With Del Piero still available as a free agent Sydney chief executive Tony Pignata claimed Wednesday morning that Liverpool had made a late attempt to hijack the deal.

But even though negotiations continued into Wednesday, Del Piero has now seemingly been convinced to move Down Under.

In addition to Liverpool and Southampton, Sydney also have reportedly also fended off interest from Champions League clubs Celtic and Braga as well as Swiss side Sion.

Information from Press Associaton was used in this report.

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