Alessandro Del Piero touches down in Wellington today as the ex-Juventus and Italy star prepares to make his Sydney FC debut against the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium tomorrow night.
The 37-year-old World Cup winner is the highest profile footballer to reach these shores since David Beckham, and a crowd of around 15,000 is expected.
"Gee, it's a cool game to get isn't it?" Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said.
"We got the right throw of the dice on that one. Fantastic to have Del Piero on our shores and the quality, internationally, with what he's done, it will be fantastic for the fans and kids that come along. It'll be a big day, hopefully the sales are good and the weather's kind to us - it will be a great one for us to start the year."
Herbert yesterday named a 17-man squad for the match, including Paul Ifill, who has recovered from knee and ankle injuries.
Also included are teenagers Louis Fenton and Tyler Boyd, who have graduated from the club's school of excellence.
- © Fairfax NZ News