The unveiling of German superstar Michael Ballack as the A-League's next drawcard is imminent with official confirmation of the decorated midfielder’s arrival expected next week.
With Alessandro Del Piero already in Australia and former England international Emile Heskey on his way, the arrival of Ballack to join Western Sydney Wanderers in its inaugural A-League season looms as another stunning coup for the competition.
Sources in Germany confirmed to The World Game that 2002 World Cup finalist Ballack - who turns 36 on 26 September - has opted for Australia over rival offers in the Middle East and MLS in a one-year deal well in excess of $1 million.
Ballack is poised to join Wanderers in time for its A-League debut on Saturday 6 October against Central Coast Mariners at Parramatta Stadium.
And, in a mouth-watering prospect, Ballack could line up against Italian legend Del Piero in the round three derby against Sydney FC.
Ballack's signing would complete a stunning trio for the A-League but, while his deal has been mooted as far from a sure thing by some, Football Federation Australia's Head of the A-League Damien De Bohun said the fact he's even linked to a move to Australia is an important step in the game's growth.
"The interest in the league, I've never seen anything like it," he said.
"There's no doubt Del Piero's signing has opened the eyes of athletes all over the world.
"There's all sorts of rumours flying around but the fact that someone like Ballack would even contemplate coming to the A-League is huge.
"Four or five years ago that wasn't a conversation people were even prepared to have."
Free agent Ballack - who has maintained his fitness since leaving Bayer Leverkusen at the end of last season by training with the German national team's top conditioner - is expected in Australia in the first days of October.
"Michael is excited by the prospect of coming to great city like Sydney and being a part of a new project in an emerging football country," the source said.
"He has kept himself very fit and obviously the match-fitness will come quickly from that.
"He will be in Australia for the first game and over the next few days the finer details will be sorted out and it all be revealed to the people in Australia that he is coming."
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