Del Piero: I rejected move to Liverpool because of Heysel

The Italian legend has explained his decision to snub the Reds in favour of a move to A-League club Sydney FC, while admitting he has expected his Juventus exit to go differently
Alessandro Del Piero has revealed that he turned down the chance to join Liverpool over the European summer transfer window because of the memories of the Heysel distaster, and because he was already in advanced talks with Sydney FC.

Thirty-nine Juventus fans died during the stadium tragedy in 1985, and the former Italy international felt joining the English Premier League side would be too sensitive a move.

"Talks with Sydney were already in an advanced stage when Liverpool came knocking, and then I thought about what had happened at Heysel," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Juventus and Liverpool have been able to rebuild their relationship, but that tragedy will forever be on the mind of many people."

Del Piero then went on to voice his disappointment with his departure from Juventus, but praised Bianconeri fans for the warm farewell they gave him.

"I never thought I would leave Juventus like this. I never even imagined this some 18 months ago. However, things then changed.

"I leave with a feeling of satisfaction, though, knowing that I always gave everything for Juventus.

"The fans outdid themselves for my farewell game. I knew that the fans liked me, but never thought I'd be that popular. Gigi Buffon told me that he envied me."

The 37-year-old made his Sydney debut on Saturday as they lost 2-0 against Wellington Phoenix in Week 1 of the A-League.