A-League cult hero nearly 'punched on' with Del Piero
A-LEAGUE cult hero Ali Abbas has opened up on the time he and Alessandro Del Piero went toe-to-toe in the dressing rooms after an on-field disagreement.
The duo played at Sydney FC together for two seasons and struck up an unlikely yet exciting strike partnership under head coach Frank Farina between 2012 and 2014.
Speaking on theFox Football Podcast, Abbas insisted he and the Italian legend were "good friends now" but revealed the one time the 2006 World Cup winner got under his skin.
"We message each other all the time to talk and ask about each other's families," Abbas said.
"There was a game against Melbourne City back then and I gave 10 passes to him and he lost the ball but didn't say anything.
"But I lost the ball twice and he just went mental at me and I was thinking: I just gave you 10 balls and you lost them.
"So I lost one ball and he just lost it at me so we had a go and we were going to nearly punch on in the changing rooms but we were lucky we had the big man Spider (Zeljko Kalac) between us. Nothing happened thank god.
"When I had Twitter I had almost 2000 followers. After that fight I had almost 7000.
"I was with Frank Farina, after that we went to Italy for a camp and he said, 'Do you want to fight him now? With all these fans here?' and I said 'No no, I'm not going to fight him.'"
The current batch of overseas players are struggling to make an impact on the A-League this season - particularly at Melbourne Victory, who are 10th on the ladder.
As a former "foreign" player in the A-League himself, Abbas was asked by Fox Football experts Simon Hill and Daniel Garb what his thoughts were of recruiting overseas players and what it was actually like playing on Australian shores.
"When Del Piero was here I had a chat to him - he said 'I thought the league would be easier', but it wasn't," Abbas said.
"A lot of players when they hear about Australia they think the A-League is an easy league to play in, but it's actually not.
"We all watch the A-League and you see a lot of foreigners that come here and think they're going to make it easy. But for some of them it takes them one or two years.
"I think we should be watching and seeing these players more before we bring them here to Australia because a lot of them aren't good enough and we're just watching videos of them."