Culina joins Gold Coast
Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina revealed that his decision to return to Australia at the peak of his international career was due to love, not money.
Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina revealed that his decision to return to Australia at the peak of his international career was due to love.
The 28-year-old is set to become Australia's highest-paid footballer after signing a three-year deal worth $3.6 million with the Hyundai A-League's newest club Gold Coast United.
Culina will see out the remainder of his contract with PSV Eindhoven - due to expire in five months - before returning home.
PSV had also offered Culina a new three-year deal with the Dutch giants - who have won the past three Eredivisie titles - which he admitted was hard to resist.
"PSV is a great club and I felt flattered when they offered me a contract extension, but I had already made up my mind to return to Australia," he said.
Culina had also been linked with a move to Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb.
Gold Coast has been after Culina's signature for months to be its marquee player and skipper in its debut season in the Hyundai A-League.
And Culina, whose father Branko was coach of Sydney FC, believed his move would be a boost for the national competition.
"I want to make a fresh start and I am ready for a new challenge," he said on PSV's website.
"I am the first international who returns to Australia and I am keen to promote the national competition and raise the standard."
"Players have returned to Australia from Europe before, but that was usually at the end of their careers. I will be 29 when we return. That's why I was anxious to complete a three-year deal."
Culina, who has been capped 36 times for the Socceroos, denied his return to Australia was at the insistence of his family.
"On the contrary. My wife loves life in the Netherlands and she feels at home here. She wanted me to stay with PSV, but I decided to follow my heart," he said.
"I spent 10 years in Holland and I'm looking forward to the new challenge."