Soccer: Sydney FC boss welcomes Heskey

Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata has welcomed the news football superstars Emile Heskey and possibly even Michael Ballack are joining fellow NSW clubs. Photo / Getty Images.
Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata has welcomed the news football superstars Emile Heskey and possibly even Michael Ballack are joining fellow NSW clubs. Photo / Getty Images.

Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata has welcomed the news football superstars Emile Heskey and possibly even Michael Ballack are joining fellow NSW clubs, saying he'd love to build a fierce rivalry between the A-League sides.

Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero's landmark deal with the Sky Blues created global headlines this month and the league has since been associated with various big names.

On Wednesday former England international Heskey joined the Newcastle Jets, pending a medical, on a reported one-year deal worth $1 million.

And ex-Germany captain Ballack has been linked with A-League newcomers Western Sydney Wanders, who have confirmed they've had talks with the former Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder's agent.

Pignata for one is more than happy for other clubs to boast their own footballing great.

"Bring it on," Pignata said today.

"It would be great for the rivalry between the clubs.

"I think the more these sorts of players come to the league the better for fans and the better for the league.

"So if any other club wants to go out there and get these type of players then go for it."

Ballack's signing would complete a stunning trio for the A-League, but while his deal is far from a sure thing Head of the A-League Damien de Bohun said the fact he's even linked to a move to Australia is big enough.

"The interest in the league, I've never seen anything like it," he said.

"There's no doubt Del Piero's signing has opened the eyes of athletes all over the world.

"There's all sorts of rumours flying around but the fact that someone like Ballack would even contemplate coming to the A-League is huge.

"Four or five years ago that wasn't a conversation people were even prepared to have."

Sydney kick off their season on October 6 away to Wellington but play their first home game at Allianz Stadium the following week against Newcastle with the prospect of a Del Piero-Heskey clash creating a mouth watering encounter for football fans.

"I'd love to see a sell-out, but if we could get over 30,000 that would be phenomenal," Pignata said.

"And if Heskey is confirmed with Newcastle then you better get your tickets quick."

Marquee signings have been the recent focus of the A-league, about to enter its eighth season, and while de Bohun has welcomed the attention he is adamant the league also remains crucial for the development of young local talent.

"From our perspective we need to make sure we have a real balance between some of the international superstars but also make sure we build good young Australian players," he said.

"A very strong A-League is important but equally a very strong national side is also important."

-AAP

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