Tony Pignata

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for Sydney FC

Sydney FC CEO who brought Del Piero to Australia steps down

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SYDNEY (AP) Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata, who was instrumental in bringing Italy star Alessandro Del Piero to Australian football’s A-League, is stepping down after five years.

In a statement on Wednesday, the newly-crowned A-League champions said Pignata will leave his post early next month to return to his home town of Melbourne.

Pignata joined Sydney in 2012 and was credited with putting together the deal which brought Del Piero to Australia as the A-League’s highest-profile international signing. He flew to Italy shortly after joining Sydney FC to persuade Del Piero to sign on for what became a highly-successful two-year stay in the A-League.

Del Piero won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and scored 27 goals in 91 appearances for his national team.