Sydney FC star Alessandro Del Piero has been ruled out of his side’s clash against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Monday.
The Italian forward pulled up sore after Sydney’s 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners on Thursday and his 38-year-old body has been unable to recover in time.
Sydney coach Frank Farina has called for Del Piero to be protected by A-League referees, with the former Juventus stalwart regularly targeted in his debut season in Australia.
“Alessandro has pulled up really sore in the Achilles and calf after Thursday’s match and he isn’t fit to travel to Adelaide,” Farina said.
“He got fouled eight or 10 times during the match and with the short turnaround he hasn’t been able to train and he’s not fit to play.
“It’s a blow for us and a shame for the people of Adelaide but I think there needs to be better protection for him on the field.
“We play a physical game and Alessandro is a big boy who can handle himself but he is getting kicked repeatedly and if that continues he will miss games through injury.
“Hopefully he will be able to recover in time for the next away trip to Perth.”
The absence of Del Piero adds to a growing Sydney injury list, with Jason Culina, Pascal Bosschaart, Fabio, Joel Chianese, Paul Reid, Mitch Mallia, Ivan Necevski and Kruno Lovrek also on the sidelines.