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Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Del Piero ready for Sydney bow

ESPN staff

Alessandro Del Piero has announced his availability for Sydney FC's A-League opener against Wellington Phoenix this weekend.

Juventus legend Del Piero, 37, moved to Australia this summer but has only managed 70 minutes of football since his arrival Down Under, and there had been doubts about whether he would travel to New Zealand, but he has eased fears about his fitness by claiming he is ready to play if needed.

"I have to take time with the team but at the moment it (my fitness) is good," Del Piero said. "I'm okay for the first match and I want to improve day by day. The 70 minutes I played last week is good news for me and for the team.

"We will have to see what happens with the flight to Wellington but I'm okay, I feel good, and this is the most important thing."

Team manager Ian Crook refused to confirm the veteran Italian's inclusion in his squad, underlining a long-term view to Del Piero's stay in Australia.

"We'll probably make a final decision on Thursday but I'm leaning towards him playing,'' he said. "But we need to understand this isn't a guest stint with Alessandro - it's a two-year thing and a long-term project. We certainly don't want to break him, there will be a lot of thought going into it."

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