The 37-year-old trequartista is out of contract at the end of the season and is keen to move overseas in order to experience a new footballing culture before he hangs up his boots
Bianconeri president Andrea Agnelli announced last October that the World Cup winner would not be offered a new deal beyond the end of the current campaign and there has been constant speculation over the 37-year-old’s future ever since.
Del Piero has been linked with a host of top clubs, including Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, but while the French side’s coach, ex-AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti, remains a great admirer of the former Italy international, the Qatari-owned club are focused on signing up-and-coming attacking talent, such as Javier Pastore, who arrived from Palermo last summer, as opposed to seasoned veterans coming to the end of their careers.
|DEL PIERO'S DILEMMA
|Arguably the No.10's most likely destination, given that Super League side's are able to not only satisfy Del Piero's financial demands but also cater to his desire to experience a new footballing culture. Guizhou Renhe, Dalian Aerbin, Guangzhou R&F and even Shanghai Shenhua would all likely be interested.|
Urawa R. D.
Yokohama F. M.
|Del Piero is idolised in the 'Land of the Rising Sun', not only because of his exploits on the field but also because of the charity work he has done in aid of those affected by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. However, his wage demands would be a major obstacle for J-League sides.
| UNITED STATES
NY Red Bulls
|A real possibility given the Italian's fondness for the States and MLS clubs' willingness to pay top dollar for high-profile players looking to live out the 'American Dream' in the twilight of their careers. But with both LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls currently well stocked, Del Piero might not want to settle for a move to a less appealing city.
Consequently, a move overseas is now a near certainty and there have already been suggestions that MLS sides are willing to offer the forward a contract which would earn him 5m euros a season. Finishing his career on the other side of the Atlantic appeals to Del Piero, who regularly holidays in the United States.
However, he also has strong emotional and financial ties with Japan and China, and is fascinated by both countries.
Del Piero retains a god-like status in Japan going all the way back to the time he scored the winning goal in Juventus’ Intercontinental Cup triumph over River Plate in the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo in 1996. His standing within the country has only risen in recent times on account of the extensive charity work he has done in aid of those affected by the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan in 2011.
However, Del Piero’s financial demands are likely to prove a major stumbling block for any interested J-League sides, as no player currently earns more than 2m euros per season in the Japanese top flight.
Money, though, would not be any issue for the top clubs in the Chinese Super League, with former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka reportedly on 210,000 euros a week at Shanghai Shenhua.
Del Piero would certainly represent a perfect fit for Guizhou Renhe, who are desperate to sign a world-class superstar in the summer, while newly-promoted duo Dalian Aerbin or Guangzhou R&F would also likely be interested in acquiring such a high-profile player – and have the requisite funds to do just that.
Juventus' decision to offload Del Piero, who was signed as an 18-year-old from Padova in 1993, surprised many fans as he is the club's most-capped player and all-time record goalscorer.
However, he has made just three starts in Serie A since the appointment of former teammate Antonio Conte as coach last summer and is now looking forward to an exciting closing chapter in his career in either China, Japan or the United States.