thumbnail Hello,

Only one other player could possibly rival Spain's record goalscorer as the most significant arrival 'Down Under' - Juventus icon Alessandro Del Piero

COMMENT
By Iain Strachan

It's the question on everyone's lips after confirmation the Spanish star will play for Melbourne City next season before linking up with New York City for their debut Major League Soccer campaign: is David Villa the biggest signing in A-League history?

The answer? Yes. And no.

As a World Cup,  European Championship, Champions League and La Liga winner, Villa only has one genuine rival for the title of the A-League's biggest and best acquisition yet.

The former Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid man certainly leaves the likes of Dwight Yorke, Robbie Fowler, Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey choking on his dust.

But is he as big a deal as Alessandro Del Piero?

As a name, 'ADP' was bigger. Synonymous with Serie A giants Juventus and a modern great of the Italian national team, Del Piero - given Australian football has closer ties with the Azzurri than La Roja - was always destined to be a massive commerical hit 'Down Under'.

However, he arrived in the A-League a month before his 38th birthday and had to rely on his extraordinary technique and vision to exert an influence on matches.

Villa will be 32 when he laces up his boots in the new white and blue of Melbourne City, fresh from a season in which he was good enough to make the reigning world champions' squad for the defence of their World Cup crown in Brazil.

That came on the back of a campaign partnering Diego Costa as Atletico upset the odds to win the Spanish title and come within seconds of claiming Champions League glory.

Prior to that he fired Spain to success in South Africa four years ago, earning a €40 million move to Barcelona, where he won two Liga titles and the European Cup.

Make no mistake - securing the services of a player of Villa's calibre so close to the prime of his career is by far the biggest coup managed yet in the A-League's short existence.

The only caveat that can be applied is the fact that he will only be here as part of a brief guest stint, compared to Del Piero's two full seasons on service.

But there's no denying Melbourne City's owners have set the bar higher than ever before in terms of what is possible in Australia's domestic competition. It will be up to the rest of the A-League to somehow try and match that ambition.

Related

From the web