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Alessandro Del Piero signing for Southampton would be as big as Kevin Keegan deal
If Saints were to pull it off the signing of Alessandro Del Piero it would eclipse even that of Gaston Ramiez – and would come close to rivalling the historic capture of Kevin Keegan.
The Italian playmaker may now be 37- years-old which means, unlike Keegan, he is not in his prime and the current European footballer of the year.
But his profile and stature in the sport remain undiminished.
He is adored by millions around the world, has had the most glittering of careers and would shine a spotlight on Saints in far off corners of the globe.
There is not much Del Piero has failed to do in his illustrious footballing life, but a final challenge of playing in England, a long held ambition of his, is about it.
He would, without doubt, be a superstar signing.
To try and summarise Del Piero’s bulging trophy cabinet is hard work.
But, to give it a shot – six Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, a Champions League winners medal, a UEFA Super Cup, Intertoto Cup, Intercontinental Cup, four Supercoppa Italia’s and a Serie B title won after he stuck with Juventus following their demotion from the top flight for a match fixing scandal.
Oh, we might also have forgotten to mention a World Cup and a runnersup medal at the European Championships.
That is one impressive haul.
Del Piero could have been forgiven for thinking that was more than enough for a career. It sounds more than enough for several careers.
He has earned a fortune from football and remains a face of Adidas and numerous other brands.
Surely he should just hang his boots up and bask in his role of intentional footballing legend for the rest of his days?
But then to do things so easily is not the Del Piero way.
He has set himself the challenge of playing until he is 40, so he still has a few years to go yet.
Del Piero was born in the small town of Conegliano in Italy in 1974 but moved to Padova aged 13 to start his footballing career.
It didn’t take long for his talent to be recognised and soon the Italian giants of Juventus came calling for his signature. So started a dynasty that lasted nineteen years until he became a free agent this summer.
Del Piero was there through the glory years, winning all that silverware in the process of scoring 208 goals for the club in 513 games.
On top of that Del Piero has won 91 caps for Italy, scoring 27 goals, including a penalty in the shoot-out of the World Cup final as Italy won the tournament in 2006.
Amongst the honours he holds are being the all-time leading scorer for Juventus and having made the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Pele.
Del Piero can play a number of attacking positions and Saints would surely use him in one of the wide support slots off of a main striker.
Despite his advancing years Del Piero still played 28 times for Juventus last season, scoring five times.
Away from the pitch, Del Piero has been married to Sonia Amoruso for 13 years and they have three children together – Tobia, Dorotea and Sasha.
Del Piero is friends with Oasis star Noel Gallagher and even appeared in one of the band’s videos and has also raised substantial funds for cancer research.
The player has often found himself in lists of the top ten earning footballers in the world, and in 2000 was reckoned to have topped that poll.
Some estimates suggest that at his peak he was earning £10m a year from salary and endorsements.
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