The chance of the Italian legend arriving at Sydney FC has not shortened the club's title odds, with the Roar and the Victory still leading betting
|By PAUL GOUGH
The imminent signing of legendary Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero by Sydney FC has failed to excite punters, with the Sky Blues still only on the fifth line of betting when it comes to the title contenders for this year's A-League competition, which kicks off in October.
Del Piero was named by the world's greatest ever player Pele as one of the 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA's 100th anniversary celebrations in 2004, and the 37-year-old only ended his 20-year career with Italian powerhouses Juventus last season after helping 'The Old Lady' to yet another Serie A title.
In all, Del Piero scored 208 goals in 513 games for Juventus from 1993-2012, as well as finding the net 27 times in 91 matches with the Italy from 1995-2008.
And while Sydney FC remain confident of landing Del Piero, who had plenty of interest from other top European clubs, punters are wary of the impact the veteran will have at his age in the A-League, with Sydney FC remaining unchanged from their opening title quote of $6.50 at Luxbet.
Instead, Luxbet's Andy Scott said the support has come for Melbourne Victory to win this season's title, even though back-to-back champions Brisbane Roar remain the clear favourites.
"The punters are clearly backing Melbourne Victory to take the title and, apart from the Victory, the only interest has been a little bit at big odds for Adelaide," Scott said.
Those five are well clear in betting of the remaining five teams, with Adelaide United next best at $11 followed by Wellington at $13, Newcastle at $16, Melbourne Heart at $17 and competition newcomers West Sydney at $34.
|Melbourne Victory to win the 2012-13 A-League season at $5.50 at Luxbet
||Sydney FC to win the 2012-13 A-League season at $6.50 at Luxbet|
The support for the Victory, which finished a distant eighth last season, comes after four-time national league premiership-winning coach Ange Postecoglou was appointed coach for this season, after leaving the Roar having guided them to the championship in each of the past two seasons.
The A-League's biggest club were the disappointments of the 2011-12 season, finishing only above Adelaide and the now defunct Gold Coast United on the league table as they dispensed with two managers in the process in Mehmet Durakovic and caretaker Jim Magilton.
But the punters feel that Postecoglou, who also led South Melbourne to back-to-back titles in the late 1990's in the old National Soccer League, will have a far bigger impact in improving the Victory's fortunes this season than the ageing Del Piero will at Sydney FC.
And while the Victory have lost marquee player Harry Kewell since the end of last season after his surprise decision to return to England, the twice A-League champions have come up with an arguably better replacement in the much younger Marcos Flores.
Flores returns to the A-League from China after winning the Johnny Warren Medal for best player in the league in the 2010-11 season, while playing for Adelaide United.
And as well as the star Argentine midfielder, Melbourne Victory have also stiffened their shaky defence last season with the permanent signing of experienced Socceroo Mark Milligan.
The Roar, under new coach Rado Vidosic, remain the favourites, but no club has ever won three successive A-League titles after Brisbane last season became the first club to ever successfully defend their title.