Alessandro Del Piero leaves Sydney FC

The Italian great will not be playing on with the Sky Blues for a third campaign after he and the Australian club announced a decision not to renew his contract
Alessandro Del Piero has confirmed that his playing career with Sydney FC is over but says that he may return in another capacity.

The Juventus great has been linked with the recently vacated coaching position at the A-League team after Frank Farina's sacking, with the 39-year-old and the club both keen to continue their relationship in some way.

After scoring 24 goals, which saw him finish as the club's top goalscorer in both of his seasons there, Del Piero offered his thanks in a farewell message posted on his website.

"Australia, the moment has arrived to say 'arrivederci'," Del Piero wrote. "My adventure with Sydney FC is about to be concluded and, even if it makes me rather sad because I have had wonderful time here, I have communicated my decision to the club.

"I'm really grateful for the last two years and for the club's request for me to remain and with whom I am happy to explore new opportunities to continue our relationship.

"It hasn't been an easy choice, also because my life on and off the pitch has been fantastic, my family and I have really enjoyed these two wonderful years. Australia will remain in our hearts forever."

Del Piero will captain the A-League All-Stars in an exhibition match against Juventus in August, while he is also an ambassador for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, to be held in Australia, and he may continue his playing career elsewhere after being linked with several moves earlier this year.

Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow says that the Italian's signing was the biggest in Australian football history, remarking in a statement: "Today is bitter-sweet.

"While we would have liked to see Alessandro remain at Sydney, his decision now allows us to further our discussions about some exciting new opportunities for our ongoing relationship and to build on the legacy that has been started.

"On behalf of everyone at Sydney FC I would like to say thank you to Alessandro for the enormous contribution he has made to our club over the last two years.

"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have him at our club and we look forward to seeing him in the near future when he is next back in Sydney."