SYDNEY (AP) — Former Juventus and Italy star Alessandro Del Piero will captain Sydney FC in his second season in Australia's A-League.
Coach Frank Farina on Wednesday said Del Piero would replace Terry McFlynn. Last season, Del Piero held the vice-captaincy with Brett Emerton and took the captain's armband when McFlynn did not play or was substituted off.
The 38-year-old Italian attacker scored 14 goals in 23 games for Sydney FC, the most since his 2007-2008 season with Juventus, when he scored 21. "I will give everything — from my knowledge and experience — to have my team win the title, to fight in the playoffs and to be the best team in Australia if it's possible," Del Piero said.
"Terry was a great captain and it was a pleasure to play for him last season. I hope to have the same backing and respect as Terry had from the players." Farina said Del Piero was "a role model in the dressing room and is highly respected amongst the players at the club" and was reluctant at first to take on the captaincy.
"Every player in the club is happy and supportive and behind it, and I think that was the only hesitancy that was there," Farina said. "The respect is there and he'll do very well." Del Piero became the A-League's biggest marquee signing when he agreed to a two-year deal with Sydney before the start of the 2012-13 season.
Sydney, which did not make the playoffs last year, opens its 2013-2014 season against the Newcastle Jets on Oct. 11 in Sydney. "Last year is last year, it's part of the past," Del Piero said. "We have to think about last year only to understand what is wrong and what we think we can do better."