Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony di Pietro says the club will explore a formal relationship with visiting Major League Soccer champions Los Angeles Galaxy, believing there is 'a lot to learn' from Tuesday's friendly opponents.
Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony di Pietro says the club will explore a formal relationship with visiting Major League Soccer champions Los Angeles Galaxy, believing there is "a lot to learn" from Tuesday's friendly opponents.
The Galaxy - with stars David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane in tow - arrived in Melbourne on Sunday for the final leg of their Asia Pacific tour, having already won friendlies against an Indonesian selection in Jakarta and the Philippines national team in Manila.
While Victory - even despite some patchy Hyundai A-League form - are likely to present the Galaxy with their sternest test of the tour, di Pietro does not want a promising relationship between the two clubs to end at the final whistle at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
Fresh from their MLS Cup win on November 20, the Galaxy are the latest in a growing list of glamour friendlies Victory have booked over their history.
As of Sunday afternoon, around 30,000 tickets had been sold for the match, which is potentially former England captain Beckham's final outing for the Galaxy ahead of a return to European football.
Di Pietro hopes the fixture is the start of a beautiful friendship.
"We've had those discussions with (Galaxy president) Tom Payne, and we'll certainly look at that," di Pietro said when asked if any formal agreement between the two clubs could be possible.
"The international friendly as a whole for Melbourne Victory is an important part of our planning. We had Celtic (in) pre-season. It was an enormous success. We've had Juventus in the past."
"We've had some failures. Obviously Fulham was a good football experience, but financially it was a disaster. Boca Juniors was also a good football experience."
"We can't lose lots of money while we're trying to build these things, but certainly international friendlies are an important part (of Victory)."
"And if you can establish a relationship with a club, an MLS club like LA Galaxy, on an annual basis … then those are things that we would certainly entertain."
Victory returned home from Newcastle on Saturday nursing a 3-1 loss to the Jets, despite marquee man Harry Kewell's promising showing and a superbly crafted team goal by finished by Carlos Hernandez to hand his side a first-half lead.
Free of the pressure for valuable Hyundai A-League points and with his substitutes bench extended to seven on Tuesday night, coach Mehmet Durakovic is expected to nurse several sore bodies as well as offer valuable game time to fringe players.
While delighted with the value of the 'football experience' offered by Victory's opponents on Tuesday, Di Pietro is also eyeing the lessons his Hyundai A-League club can learn off the pitch.
"The similarities (with the MLS), we would be very close," Di Pietro said, alluding to salary caps employed by both leagues and the competitive sports markets in which they operate.
"There's a lot to learn, but we've also got similarities with J.League and K-League and their more mature markets."
"Our market is still maturing, and the MLS is somewhere in between the two, so those are the sorts of leagues we're learning from."
"Certainly, having direct relationships like this is enormous for us as a club and the A-League in general."
"Their team are absolutely great - ambassadors for the sport, as well as their own club. It's going to be a great experience for our team, our club and our members."