While ESPN didn’t wind up landing Skip Bayless, they have made an interesting addition of their own. That would be Alessandro Del Piero, particularly known for his time representing Italy (from 1996-2008 at the senior level) and playing for Juventus (from 1993-2012). ESPN announced that move Thursday afternoon:
Legendary Italian soccer star Alessandro Del Piero joins ESPN as a studio analyst
The 2006 FIFA World Cup champion & Juventus FC great is the latest addition to the ESPN FC on ESPN+ crew
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) March 4, 2021
Here’s more on this from the ESPN release:
Italian National Team standout and one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, Alessandro Del Piero has joined ESPN as a soccer analyst. Del Piero will appear on ESPN FC, the critically acclaimed daily soccer studio program exclusive to ESPN+. He will make his debut on Saturday, March 6, at 8 p.m. ET, providing postgame analysis on Juventus vs. Lazio match (2:45 p.m.) and other Serie A matchups of the day.
…Rodolfo Martinez, Vice President, Production, ESPN International and Deportes, added: “A world-class player who led both his club and country to championships, Alessandro Del Piero will bring a high level of experience and analysis to ESPN FC’s global football coverage.”
…Del Piero is the latest addition to ESPN FC’s already impressive roster of soccer pundits, joining fellow FIFA World Cup champions Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany, World Cup 1990) and Frank Lebeouf (France, 1998). The program’s other former professionals with national team experience include: Craig Burley (Chelsea FC; Scotland National Team), Steve Cherundolo (Hanover ’96; USA), Jan Åge Fjørtoft (Eintracht Frankfurt; Norway), Herculez Gomez (Los Angeles Galaxy; USA), Shaka Hislop (West Ham United; Trinidad and Tobago), Don Hutchison (Everton; Scotland), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur; USA), Alejandro Moreno (Los Angeles Galaxy; Venezuela), Steve Nicol (Liverpool; Scotland), Stewart Robson (Arsenal; England), and Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution; USA).
In addition to his work for ESPN, Del Piero will continue to provide commentary for Sky Sports Italia. He currently lives in Los Angeles and owns an Italian restaurant (No. 10, named after his jersey number) and a professional development soccer team (LA10 FC), so it seemingly makes sense for him to link up with an American network as well. And bringing him into the ESPN FC stable further adds to ESPN+, which could use some compelling studio programming to help retain subscribers after the particular live sports they’re interested in end. We’ll see how Del Piero does as an ESPN commentator.