BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A vacancy at Sydney FC may have given former Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero another career option in the A-League.
Del Piero, who turns 40 in November, has yet to sign a new playing contract for next season after two years as the highest profile marquee signing ever in the Australian domestic competition.
But the firing Wednesday of Frank Farina — the team's seventh coach in nine seasons — has triggered hype in the Australian media that the 2006 World Cup winner might move into a coaching role next season.
The A-League certainly needs Del Piero to stick around. Despite playing with sore hamstrings for a good part of this season, Del Piero scored 10 goals after scoring 14 in his inaugural season of 2012-13.
When he was signed in September 2012, season ticket sales at Sydney FC surged by several thousand overnight. And in his first season in the league, attendance increased by more than 100,000 and numbers were up by a similar amount this season.
Del Piero couldn't get Sydney into the playoffs during his first season, but the Sky Blues made it among the top six this year, losing 2-1 to Melbourne Victory in the first playoff round last weekend and ultimately ending Farina's reign as coach.
The front-runner for the vacant manager's job is Graham Arnold, who recently left Japanese club Vegalta Sendai. Another contender mentioned is former Dutch player and coach Han Berger, who will step down from his role as technical director at Football Federation Australia in June.