Gallas primed for A-League debut
William Gallas arrived at Perth Airport on Saturday to what would have been a refreshing welcome. Towards the backend of his European career, just a matter of months ago, there wasn't a whole lot of love for the Frenchman.
The 'sit-down' protest, controversial moves among London's big clubs and some below par performances threatened to leave a legacy that no one would have expected of a defender who strut around with purpose when he first moved to the Premier League in 2001.
What would've made the A-League -- and particularly Perth Glory -- an alluring move for Gallas is the ability to make a fresh start. Far from the glaring eyes of the British media and indeed much of the rest of Australia, Gallas has two key purposes to etch his name into Australian football folklore.
In no particular order, the 36-year-old's performances and marketing value will come under most scrutiny. The latter speaks for itself, and it won't be hard for Gallas to help reign in the dollars in Perth -- something the large population of English ex-pats in the WA capital will serve to help. A quick tweak to the attitude should ensure his image Down Under is a complete contrast to that overseas.
In terms of performance, it is simply a matter of keeping things the same. The reality is that, even on last season's matches, Gallas is a class above most defenders in the A-League. Showing the kind of determination that the 'big three' marquees have is a good place to start.
While it is still uncertain whether Gallas will feature in next weekend's match against Adelaide, he had all the right words in his first official press conference on Monday.
"I used to play for Arsenal and Chelsea and I think we will play the same football and that is very important to show how we can play," he said. "We want to play good football but at the same time we want to win.
"The attraction is that I have a new challenge, it's to win some trophies with Perth Glory. That is very important for me because I think everybody knows I'm a player who likes to win.
"I spoke to the manager and we will see if i can play [against Adelaide] or not because I didn't play for a few months so I think we have to be careful, maybe don't take the risk.
"But as I said, I'm very excited to train tomorrow with my new team-mates and we will see how it is going."
Del Piero: Diver or artist?
Mark Milligan spoke some sense when he appeared on Fox Sports' Shootout program on Sunday night. Of course, he was forced to express his distaste at the umpteen fouls Alessandro Del Piero won in the Big Blue on Saturday night, but the Melbourne Victory skipper admitted his side were naïve to give the Italian so many opportunities to go to ground.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it seems a bit crass to put Del Piero in the same sentence as Ashley Young. There is evidence of contact in each of the free-kicks Sydney's marquee man was awarded. Perhaps he could have played on in a few of those cases, but contact is contact and the 39-year-old simply gave his side an advantage by claiming what he was rightly owed.
Sydney fans would appreciate the free-kicks on the edge of the box, the match-winning penalty and the niggling fouls in their defensive third won by ADP that relieved his side of much pressure. It's a distinct feature of European football and while it may be a case of pot and kettle given our reaction when Asian sides visit our shores, the only thing Del Piero can be accused of is being too smart for his Victory opponents.
Costa Rica take shape
There will be two familiar names on the opposite side of the field (or bench), when Costa Rica visit Allianz Stadium next Tuesday for their friendly with the Socceroos. Wellington Phoenix duo Carlos Hernandez and Kenny Cunningham have been named in the 19-man Los Ticos side and could get their chance to impress.
Also among the names to watch will be Olympiakos forward Joel Campbell and Everton defender Bryan Oviedo, while Mat Ryan will be able to shed light on his Club Brugge team-mate Oscar Duarte.
In positive news for Australia, the man who was set to captain the 31st-ranked country, midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda (Wikipedia search required), has been ruled out through injury.
There is no chance of the Socceroos taking their opponents lightly, but a win in Sydney would prove a valuable scalp for Ange Postecoglou's men.