Alessandro Del Piero signs autographs. Photo: Reuters

Short Soccer, September 17, 2012


Hundreds of fans greeted former Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero when he touched down in Australia yesterday to begin a two-year stint with Sydney FC, in a major coup for the A-League. The Italian legend, 37, received an enthusiastic reception as he landed in Sydney from a 500-strong crowd who waited for hours hoping to catch a glimpse of their idol. "I am here not for the end of my career. I am here for the start of a new career," Del Piero, who spent 19 years at Juventus, said. "I play to win." Del Piero opted for Sydney FC ahead of clubs including Premier League giants Liverpool, on a two-year contract reportedly worth US$2 million a season. AFP


Celtic manager Neil Lennon slammed his players for being distracted by their forthcoming Champions League fixtures after his side slumped to their first defeat of the season when they lost 2-1 away to St Johnstone. The result leaves Celtic, who open their Champions League campaign against Benfica at Parkhead on Wednesday, with just two wins from their opening five Scottish Premier League matches. "If I hear the Champions League mentioned one more time I will scream and I have told the players that," the Celtic manager said. "Some players never turned up against St Johnstone and I think some players believe their own hype. Some are not concentrating on what they should be doing and thinking about the Champions League." AFP


Alex Ferguson saluted Paul Scholes after the veteran Manchester United midfielder marked his 700th appearance for the club with a goal in the 4-0 rout of Wigan at Old Trafford. Scholes' goal extended a remarkable record of scoring on landmark appearances for United and Ferguson was quick to pay tribute to the former England star, who came out of retirement in January yet remains the club's most influential midfielder. "That is what we always remember about Paul, the way he ghosts into the penalty box," Ferguson said. "Obviously as he has got older, he has not been able to do that. He doesn't need to do that now because we prefer him to play central midfield. But now he has scored on his 100th, 300th, 400th, 500th and 700th appearance. It is fantastic." AFP