Italian soccer star in Stirling

Italian World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero in action. Inset: Del Piero with Stirling Lions player 15-year-old Trayan Politis.
Italian World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero in action. Inset: Del Piero with Stirling Lions player 15-year-old Trayan Politis.

The Eastern Reporter had exclusive access when club president Don Evans opened up Macedonia Park to Alessandro Del Piero, Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill and the Sydney Football Club team for a closed training session ahead of Saturday night’s clash against Perth Glory.

Admitting it was who you know rather than what you know, Evans said a personal relationship between his brother and Sydney FC coach Frank Farina had made it possible.

‘My brother rang Frank and said ‘when you come to Perth if you are looking for a good venue, consider Macedonia Park.’ A while later Frank rang him up and said ‘can we take you up on that offer?’ ” it was that simple,’ Evans said.

He said it was a special moment for the club, which two years ago hosted former Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro, and with A-League games now being broadcast in Italy there was potential to attract more big-name players to Australia.

‘All the Europeans are following his journey here and for the first time, games in Australia are being broadcast back to Italy so they are all watching how Del Piero plays,’ he said.

‘His influence here has made a whole lot of other Italian big-name players say ‘I want to play here’. They look at Australia as a good place to come in their later years of football, play and enjoy and bring something to the Australian public ” it’s great.’

While this visit was a fleeting one, Evans hoped it was the first of many and looked forward to his players, including junior Trayan Politis, one of the lucky ones to meet Del Piero, taking to the park with some of their idols.

‘Trayan’s family have been involved with the club since the beginning ” his grandfather helped build the club; to have him meet Del Piero is a pretty proud moment,’ Evans said.