Sydney FC Star Named Asian Cup Global Ambassador

Sydney FC striker Alessandro Del Piero has been named global ambassador for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

Sydney FC striker Alessandro Del Piero has been named global ambassador for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

The Sky Blues marquee man and Italian World Cup winner will help take Asia-s biggest football event to an even larger audience, raising its profile beyond the borders of the world-s biggest region.

“I am very proud to be associated with the biggest football tournament ever held in Australia, the country that has become my home for the past two years,” Del Piero said after his appointment was announced in Sydney.

“Asia is the fastest growing region in world football.

“To be given the responsibility of hosting Asia-s premier championship is a huge honour for Australia.

“To be given the responsibility of serving as global ambassador for that championship is a huge honour for me.”

Michael Brown, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup-s Local Organising Committee, said Del Piero-s stature in world football would help make Australia 2015 a truly global event.

“Alessandro is one of the giants of the game,” Mr Brown said.

“He has galvanised interest in the A-League over the past two years, and we hope his association with the Asian Cup will do the same for what is the second oldest continental championship in the world.

“The Asian Cup is our equivalent of the Euros, and is in fact older.

“Alessandro-s appointment extends the reach of our ambassador program.

“It complements the great work of our Captain Ambassador Lucas Neill at national and Asian level.

“And of course, we have more than 100 community ambassadors around Australia who will help make this tournament a multicultural festival celebrating Asia-s rich football heritage.”

Del Piero was a fixture with Juventus for 19 years before coming to Sydney FC, serving 11 of them as captain and winning six Serie A championships, a UEFA Champions League title and Intercontinental Cup amongst many other trophies and awards.

He is the Italian league-s second top scorer of all time, and equal fourth top scorer for the Italian national team, helping the Azzurri to the World Cup in 2006. He has scored more than 340 goals in his career.

His appointment as ambassador comes on the eve of the final draw for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, which will take place in a glittering ceremony at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday night.

The 15 nations to qualify are Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

The last spot will go to the winner of the AFC Challenge Cup, played in May.

The 16 finalists will take part in a 23-day festival of football in five cities which the Socceroos will kick off on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney-s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.

BATTLE FOR THE FINALS AWAITS - With two home games remaining, the battle for finals football is well and truly on for the Sky Blues. First to visit Allianz Stadium is the Wellington Phoenix with Sydney FC-s last minute winner in the previous encounter still fresh in the memory. A week later Perth Glory will visit in what will be a season defining game for the Sky Blues - will finals football beckon? Be at Allianz Stadium to see it all unfold.

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