When Alessandro Del Piero signed for Sydney FC at the age of 37, some critics questioned his on-field worth to the A-League club.
Sure, he would be a hit off the field – that was a given when the Sky Blues desperately ordered thousands more shirts before his arrival – but how would the Italian legend perform in the cut and thrust of Australian football?
After nearly 20 years with Juventus, would the drastic change of scenery be too much for Del Piero? And even if was able to score the odd goal, would he be able to have a significant impact?
The answer to those questions lies in this season’s scoring charts.
In 16 appearances – 15 of them starts – Del Piero has bagged 10 goals, with only three players in the entire competition having scored more than him.
The undoubted highlight was a stunning four-goal haul that triggered a 7-1 thumping of the Wellington Phoenix.
But Del Piero has added sublime goals against the Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC to his impressive account already this campaign.
With incredible touch, skill and eye for goal, Del Piero has proved one of the best in the A-League this season.
His Sydney FC side lie eighth on the table but they are just goal difference out of the finals places.
And if Frank Farina’s men do make the business end of the season, who would bet against another outstanding Del Piero performance?