Alessandro Del Piero returned to the place where his glittering career started more than 20 years ago today to attend a press conference at the Padova Town Hall ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Padova Calcio at Stadio Euganeo.
Alessandro Del Piero returned to the place where his glittering career started more than 20 years ago today to attend a press conference at the Padova Town Hall ahead of Wednesday night-s clash with Padova Calcio at Stadio Euganeo.
Flanked by Sydney FC coach Frank Farina and Chairman Scott Barlow, Del Piero spoke to a room full of media, celebrities, Town Hall staff, the odd autograph hunter and the man who started his professional career as a teenager, Vittorio Scantamburlo.
Just as the press conference was due to start, Del Piero spotted the elderly gentleman in the front row and jumped from his seat with the same enthusiasm he has shown on football fields around the world, moved from behind the desk and embraced Mr Scantamburlo and his wife.
It was a touching moment that encapsulated not only his symbolic return to Padova but the class and humility of Del Piero the man.
In 1988 Mr Scantamburlo found a 13-year-old Del Piero running around the football fields of San Vendemiano and brought him to Padova toi play in the club-s youth team and the rest - as they say - is history.
On Wednesday night Del Piero and the Sydney FC team will walk onto the Stadio Euganeo as the first A-League team to play a match against a European opponent in Europe and the World Cup winner has warned his team mates to expect a tough test.
“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 and 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 of us, for the crowd and this will be a great game, for sure.”
Three days into the Sydney FC training camp in Italy, Farina thanked Padova for allowing the Sky Blues to make Australian football history.
“First I-d like to thank Padova for accepting us for this game,” Farina said. “We are the first Australian team to tour Italy or Europe so it-s a great honour for us.”
Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow also made note of the historical match and the symbolism of Sydney FC playing a match in the city that started the legend that is Alessandro Del Piero.
“It is a very special occasion for us as a club to be part of this historic match and to come to where Alessandro-s professional career began,” Barlow said.
The Sydney FC v Padova match kicks off at 8.45pm on Wednesday evening (4.45am Thursday Sydney time) and will be broadcast LIVE throughout Italy on Sky Italia.
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