Heysel helped sway Del Piero

Centre of attention ... Alessandro Del Piero (Getty Images)

Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero claims his decision to sign with Sydney FC rather than English Premier League giant Liverpool was partly made out of respect for the Heysel Stadium disaster.

Former Juventus striker Del Piero told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that by the time Liverpool made its offer, "the negotiations with Sydney were already at an advanced stage".

"And then I also thought about what happened at Heysel. Juventus and Liverpool have been able to repair their relationship, but for a lot of people that tragedy is unforgettable."

During the 1985 European Cup final at Heysel in Belgium, 39 people were killed - most of them Juventus supporters - when riots broke out and a wall separating Liverpool and Juve fans collapsed.

The 37-year-old Del Piero made his A-League debut in Sydney's 2-0 loss at Wellington last weekend.

Source AP