Honda joins Melbourne Victory
Sydney: Japanese star Keisuke Honda has signed for reigning A-League champions Melbourne Victory with the former AC Milan striker calling it the best club in Australia.
Honda, who retired from international football after Japan's heartbreaking 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia exit in a last-gasp defeat to Belgium, put pen to paper for the 2018/19 season.
"It goes without saying that Keisuke has consistently proven himself at the highest level and we can't wait to see what he can do in Melbourne," said Victory head coach Kevin Muscat.
The talismanic 32-year-old, one of the highest profile names in Asian football, had been a free agent since departing Mexican club Pachuca.
"I am so happy to join the Melbourne Victory. I knew they were interested in me one week after the World Cup," he told Fox Sports.
"I really like a new challenge, that's me. I checked a couple of things. Melbourne Victory is the most successful club in the A-League. That's amazing. They became champs many times," he added.
Honda shot to fame at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when his goals helped Japan reach the last 16.
He netted 37 times in 98 appearances for his country and was the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018).
Instantly recognisable with his spiky, bleach-blond hair, he spent four seasons at AC Milan and has also played for VVV-Venlo in Holland and CSKA Moscow.
"Today's announcement that Keisuke Honda will be joining Melbourne Victory is a significant boon for the upcoming A-League season," said Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop.
"To have a player of his experience, calibre and marketability will also boost the A-League's image and reputation within the Asian region and around the world."