Syd FC set for big test against Padova
Alessandro Del Piero has returned to a hero's welcome - and a touching reunion - in Padova as Sydney FC prepare for the opening game of their six-match tour of Italy.
Del Piero held court at the pre-game media conference for the Sky Blues' clash with Padova Calcio, the club that discovered the Italian superstar.
Having trained in front of 1400 fans the day before, Del Piero proved just as classy off the field when greeted by a room full of media, celebrities, town hall staff, hangers on - and Vittorio Scantamburlo.
With official proceedings about to start and photographers snapping away, the Juventus icon noticed Scantamburlo, the man who in 1988 spotted him as a 13-year-old boy in San Vendemiano and brought him to Padova.
Del Piero, who went on to win a World Cup and countless accolades at Juventus before becoming the face of the A-League, jumped from his seat and moved into the front row to embrace Scantamburlo and his wife.
It was a moving moment before coach Frank Farina's men get down to the serious business of playing against Padova on Wednesday (4.45am Thursday AEST).
"For sure it will be a difficult game," Del Piero said.
"Padova is a great team and they want to go to the Serie A.
"They play at home, they are forward (more advanced) than us in the preparation because next week they start the (Serie B) championship.
"We have jet lag and a lot of situations not good but we've worked a lot in the last three days and I think it will be a great experience for everyone.
"This will be a great game, for sure."
The 38-year-old was unsure whether the upcoming A-League season, which starts with Sydney FC hosting Newcastle on October 11, would be the last chapter of his storied career.
"At my age, prospects are always short term," Del Piero said.
"It may be my last year, it may not - I'll decide after Christmas."
He was also asked for a Serie A 2013/14 prediction.
"Juve are in pole position, because the defending champion always has the advantage of starting in front," he said of Juventus' bid to record a third consecutive Serie A title.
The Sky Blues, in Italy for a three-week training camp, will become the first A-League team to play a match against a European opponent in Europe.