Juventus legend Edgar Davids has warned Sydney FC star Alessandro Del Piero not to expect to stroll straight into management when he finally hangs up his boots.
Speculation emerged last month that the 39-year-old Del Piero could take over as player-manager of struggling Sydney next season, with reports indicating that the Italian had declared his willingness to take the job if the axe falls on current boss Frank Farina.
But Davids knows first-hand how difficult the transition from pitch to dugout can be after quitting his first posting with English Conference side Barnet in January, and the Dutchman has urged his former team-mate to take his time as he considers his next career move.
"I know him very well, but Alessandro Del Piero knows himself better than anyone else," Davids said on Friday in Tokyo, where he is on business as a Juventus ambassador along with club president Andrea Agnelli.
"Only he can answer the question if he is going to stop or if he is going to play. It's his own decision. But he can be a great asset for a team, in a management position or whatever.
"But you also need to get some experience, because you can't stop one day and then be a manager the next day. He's bright and very intelligent, so he knows when the time is right and only he can answer the question if he wants to be a manager somewhere."
Del Piero is set to play for the A-League All Stars against Juventus when the Italian champions visit Sydney on August 10, but Agnelli warned that the current football calendar makes pre-season tours to the Asia-Pacific region a difficult task.
"We have very limited time out of the official season calendar if you take into account the clubs' calendar and the national teams' calendar," he said.
"If you think about that past three seasons, this year we have the World Cup, last year we had the Confederations Cup and the year before we had the Euros.
"We proudly give to national teams something like 12 to 15 players, and that means that tours are extremely complicated to put together. If we come with our youth team it doesn't have the same attraction as our first team."
Several European clubs have achieved commercial success by signing players from the Asian market, and Agnelli admitted that Juventus were interested in doing the same.
"If you want to put a spotlight onto a team from a different country, having a player coming from that country is the easiest way forward," he said.
"I think Japan, especially in the recent years since 2010 onwards, has started again to deliver some fantastic talent. You could think about (Keisuke) Honda and (Shinji) Kagawa, and I think (Yuto) Nagatomo at Inter Milan is a superb left-back, so we are looking at that."