Sky Blues snap up Ghoochannejhad
Sydney: Australia's Sydney FC have strengthened their squad ahead of their 2019 AFC Champions League campaign, signing former Islamic Republic of Iran star Reza Ghoochannejhad on a half-season loan deal.
The striker joins from Cypriot champions APOEL, and becomes the first Iranian to feature for the A-League outfit.
Ghoochannejhad, who scored 17 goals in 44 appearances for Team Melli before his international retirement at the end of last year's FIFA World Cup, revealed his happiness at putting pen to paper.
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“I’m excited to be joining Sydney FC and looking forward to the challenge of the A-League and AFC Champions League,” he told the club's official website.
“To be joining Australia’s most successful club is a fantastic move for me, and to test myself against the best in Australia and Asia will be an unbelievable experience.
“Sydney FC’s record in recent times is phenomenal and they have some fantastic players.
“I can’t wait to link up with my new teammates, help them add to their success and bring more trophies to the club.”
Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica said he believed the 31-year-old would be a major asset to his side's Continental campaign.
“Reza is an exciting striker who will score goals and give us a different option up front,” he said.
“The fact he qualifies as an Asian player under the AFC Champions League three plus one ruling is going to be a huge benefit to us and vital to our challenge for the trophy.
“We’ve had our eye on him for a while and when the opportunity came up to sign him, we didn’t hesitate."
Sydney FC will begin their AFC Champions League campaign against a playoff winner on March 6, with Shanghai SIPG and Kawasaki Frontale, the respective champions of China and Japan, also drawn into Group H.
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