As the Indian Super League (ISL) gets set to kick off its inaugural season later in 2014, rumors have surfaced that Italian football legend Alessandro Del Piero has shown interest in potentially continuing his career in the ISL. Del Piero, who played the last two seasons for Sydney FC in Australia, understands the value of veterans helping the growth of the sport.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter once referred to India as the “sleeping giant” of football. If Del Piero decides to join a club in the ISL, that giant may wake up sooner than expected.
Other names who have shown interest but have yet to sign any contract include former Manchester United forward Dwight Yorke, Thierry Henry and Argentina’s Hernan Crespo.
The ISL tournament, which will run from October to December, has a requirement where teams have to sign a marquee international player.
Other notable stars who have already committed include Robert Pires and David Trezeguet of France, and Joan Capdevila and Luis Garcia of Spain.
“The Indian Super League presents a great opportunity to develop a platform for the youngsters to learn and enhance their talent to develop into outstanding players,” said Sachin Tendulkar, legendary Indian cricketer and owner of ISL’s Kerala Blasters. “With the Kochi club, we will strive to ‘score our goals’ and play a part in developing the game of football across the country.”
Del Piero is currently in Australia, getting ready for a friendly match against his old team, Juventus. His addition to the ISL would be a momentous occasion mostly because of the international clout he has built up. If Del Piero, a legend in his own regards, can choose to play in the ISL, why can’t other super star football players?
As some dominos fall, so will others. The ISL is on the right path to start bringing in some of the top international talent.
“Now I have to choose exactly what is the best for me with the opportunities, but I want to play on,” Del Piero said. “At the end of the day it’s not an easy moment for me to understand what is best to do because I have more options coming for outside the pitch rather than on the pitch. After this game I will sit with my family, my manager, everyone and I will decide what is the best for me and, I hope, play on.
“It’s my passion. I understand I can follow my passion until I’m 90 years old, but I think I’m in good shape to play for one more year and this is my idea.”