New Delhi: Of late, India's capital city has not had it good in the field of sport. Delhi Daredevils finished at the bottom of the Indian Premier League table, Dabang Delhi only managed a seventh place finish in the Pro Kabddi league, there has been no Ranji trophy win since 2007-08 and state does not even have a team in the I-League.
With the advent of the Indian Super League, optimism among Delhi's football fans is at an all-time high. Their team, the Delhi Dynamos have a strong squad on paper and one name in particular gives them the belief, “acche din” in terms of sporting success might be just around the corner.
Undoubtedly, Alessandro Del Piero is the biggest name in the first edition of the Indian Super League and may be for the next few seasons as well. To convince a player of the stature of Del Piero to participate in the inaugural edition of the league is a phenomenal achievement for the Delhi franchise. Of course, it cost them an eye bulging $1.2m for 2 months of the Italian's time.
Apart from the Euro, the Italian has won every major trophy at the club and country level. The World Cup, UEFA Champions league and multiple goal scoring records are highlights in the glittering footballing resume of Alessandro Del Piero.
The DEN networks-owned team has been put together for the ISL. The players part of the Dynamos group have never really played together unlike FC Goa and NorthEast United FC. Hence Del Piero's experience in helping the team gel together as a unit will be vital.
The Dynamos have signed some very strong foreign players, but a core group of high quality Indian players is clearly missing. The only notable Indian name in the Delhi team is Steven Dias. Hence, the franchise will look up to Del Piero to guide the team off the pitch as well. After playing for over two decades at the highest level, he seems to be the perfect role model for players in the dressing room.
Apart from all the sensational goals and the breathtaking dribbles, what stands out in Del Piero's career was his decision to continue playing for Juventus when the team was relegated to second division following the 2006 match-fixing scandal that rocked Italian football. Despite all the big name players leaving the sinking Juventus ship, the forward, opted to stay put and playing in the second division for the club he loved.
Hence a player with the integrity of Del Piero would serve as a source of great inspiration for all the Delhi lads. Despite the mercurial striker losing pace over the years, he still has the awareness in the box and his movement in and around the goal is still among the best as he showed in the A-League in Australia.
More importantly, fans of the Delhi franchise would be hoping the brilliance of the Italian would help them win the first-ever Indian Super league title and end the trophy drought in the capital city.