Leading Sydney FC players have pleaded with management to keep Alessandro Del Piero at the club as a coach now that the Italian's Sky Blues playing days are over.
Leading Sydney FC players have pleaded with management to keep Alessandro Del Piero at the club in a coaching capacity after it was revealed the Italian's playing days with the Sky Blues are over.
The Sky Blues revealed on Monday that Del Piero's stint in the A-League would not continue into a third season, with the club not in a position to offer the 39-year-old another marquee deal.
The 2006 World Cup winner will play one final game on Australian shores in August's All-Stars match against Juventus, although he has yet to confirm whether he intends to play on elsewhere.
While it's understood Del Piero won't assume the vacant head coaching position at Sydney, the club are hopeful of keeping him in another coaching or development role.
Another option is for Del Piero to scout a top head coach from Italy with him potentially being the assistant to him.
And it's something that appeals to defender Sasa Ognenovski, who believes the Sky Blues can only benefit from keeping Del Piero at the club.
"His knowledge of football is second to none. He's played in Serie A, won the World Cup, European Champions League, the Scudetto...that sort of knowledge and experience you can't find every day," the Socceroos defender told www.footballaustralia.com.au.
"If he stays on in some capacity as an assistant coach we'll be keen to hear what he has to say.
"As a footballer you try and improve all the time and it would be great to keep learning off him.
"I've learned so much from him in just a couple of months and I just hope the younger ones at the club that have been fortunate to have played with him for two years have learned what it takes to be the best."
One of those youngsters in Terry Antonis credited Del Piero's influence for his stunning form in the second half of this season and is another that hopes he's not lost to the club.
"Someone of his calibre it was an honour to play with him and an honour to be one of his teammates," Antonis said.
"Fingers crossed he can stay involved with the club.
"He's an unbelievable player to play with on the field but you learn so much from him off it as well."
The question many Sydney fans will be asking now is just who the club can find as their new marquee to match the impact that Del Piero had.
"The next guy that comes in is going to have his work cut out to match what Alessandro has done," Ognenovski conceded.
"The influence he had on the team and when he was on song he was unstoppable. Even if he was having a bit of an off day he could still produce one pass that could change the game.
"The next guy that comes in is going to have a big burden to shoulder just because of (Del Piero's) legacy at the club.