Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono will not play in the All-Stars match with Manchester United later this month.
The All-Stars are a select side from the domestic A-League competition, voted by the fans, but its three biggest stars will be missing.
Del Piero will still be in Europe when the side takes on Manchester United on June 20, before flying straight to Japan for Sydney FC’s pre-season clash with Japanese side Sagan Tosu on the 24th.
Shinji Ono has been ruled out, his club, the Western Sydney Wanderers, citing match fitness as the main concern. The Japanese superstar was instrumental in the club’s inaugural season run that took them to the grand final and the premiership.
England international Emile Heskey was a surprise omission from the All-Stars side – announced last month. Mat Ryan (Club Brugge) and Marco Rojas (Stuttgart) are expected to be ruled out due to their transfers abroad, while Patrick Zwaanswijk has retired.
All-Stars and Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou will be tasked with finding replacement players but he is widely expected to use the fans’ vote as a guide.
The omission of up to six key players will not seriously affect the FFA’s flagship fixture; Manchester United’s international stars garner considerable attention in their own right. The match, at ANZ Stadium, sold out within hours of the ticket release.
The match will be former Everton boss David Moyes’ first major appearance as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor. He is expected to field a strong side. Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic and Robin Van Persie are expected to be in the starting line-up.
United’s Japanese star Shinji Kagawa is not expected to play. He’s resting for the team’s clash in Japan a few days later.
Manchester United fans who missed out on tickets to the fixture can still see their favourite stars in action because the English side is holding a ticketed training session. The 20,000 tickets go on sale tomorrow at $15 and will be available to the FFA’s Football Family from today.
George Souris, tourism and major events minister, said the ticketed training session was organised for “the true fans of the game – those who play in suburban parks around the country”.
The session will be a 90-minute drill at Allianz Stadium at Moore Park on July 19. – Michael Turner
The all-stars team as nominated by fans on the FFA website was:
Ante Covic (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Pedj Bojic (Sydney), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Western Sydney Wanderers), Patrick Zwaanswijk (Central Coast Mariners/Retired), Adama Traore (Melbourne Victory)
Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners)
Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory/Stuttgart)
Mathew Ryan (Central Coast Mariners/Club Brugge), Shinji Ono (Western Sydney Wanderers), Youssouf Hersi (Western Sydney Wanderers), Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners)
Top photo from Ian C’s Flickr photostream.