Alessandro Del Piero is here. The Italian legend touched down at Sydney International Airport at 10:28am this morning before making his way through customs, emerging almost an hour later.
The new Sydney FC signing left his home in Turin in Northern Italy on Friday night and flew to Australia via Singapore but appeared in good spirits when he landed despite the long journey.
Around 500 fans were present at the terminal for his arrival, with many supporters bearing shirts of his new club – several already sporting jerseys with Del Piero's name and number on the back – and that of his former club, Juventus.
Del Piero briefly answered questions to the waiting press, saying he was looking forward to beginning the next phase of a career that has already spanned two decades.
“I am not here for the end of my career,” he said. “I am here for the start of a new career.”
Del Piero signed for Sydney FC to become the highest-paid footballer of any code to play in Australia, agreeing a two-year, $2 million-a-season deal.
His first press conference is set down for tomorrow afternoon at The Star casino, where the legendary forward is staying for the first few weeks of his time in the harbour city. He will have his first training session with the team on Tuesday.
He was then whisked into a waiting car that couldn't pull away for almost a minute as fans crowded around to get a glimpse of the Azzurri hero.
Sydney fans will have another opportunity to greet the 37-year old next Sunday when the clubs hosts his official welcome party at Allianz Stadium, which will see Del Piero formally presented with the club's number 10 jersey.
It appears that Del Piero's first match in a Sky Blues shirt will be against Newcastle the following Saturday, a match which is presently a behind-closed doors affair in the central coast town of Budgewoi.
Del Piero's first A-League match will be in Wellington on October 6 when Sydney kick-off their campaign against the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.
His first competitive match in Australia will be against Newcastle at Allianz Stadium on October 13, a game that is already expected to sell out.