Honda to light up Hyundai A-League as Victory land mega marquee
One of Asian football's biggest stars will grace the Hyundai A-League with Melbourne Victory sealing the signing of Japan legend Keisuke Honda.
The high-profile former AC Milan midfielder has inked a one-year marquee deal in a massive boost to the champions' bid to go back-to-back.
HOW IT UNFOLDED: Relive the announcement from our live ticker
READ MORE: How will Melbourne Victory accommodate their new Japanese superstar?
FROM MOSCOW TO MILAN: Victory marquee Honda's road to stardom
ADP TO 'GOD' HIMSELF: History of Hyundai A-League's international marquees
WHEN AND WHERE: How and when to watch Honda play this season
#WELCOMEHONDA: How social media reacted to the Honda announcement
Honda, 32, arrives fresh from helping his country reach the knockout rounds of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
His equaliser in a 2-2 group stage draw with Senegal improved his tally to a Japanese record of four goals on football’s biggest stage.
Considered a dead-ball specialist, Honda netted 13 times in all competitions for Mexican side Pachuca last term, having spent the previous three and a half seasons at Italian giants Milan.
“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.”
“He brings world-class ability and offers great flexibility in the front third of the pitch.”
“It’s obviously an added benefit to have him a part of our AFC Asian Champions League campaign too.”
Honda's list of achievements includes a Russian Premier League title with CSKA Moscow in 2013 and a Supercoppa Italiana triumph during his time in Serie A.
He was named Most Valuable Player at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup as Japan edged out Australia in the final.
“Today’s announcement that Keisuke Honda will be joining Melbourne Victory is a significant boon for the upcoming Hyundai A-League season,” FFA CEO David Gallop said.
“To have a player of his experience, calibre and marketability will also boost the Hyundai A-League’s image and reputation within the Asian region and around the world.
“I commend Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro and his Board, along with the club CEO Trent Jacobs and Head Coach Kevin Muscat, for the professional manner in which they conducted their negotiations with Keisuke’s management.
“Players such as Keisuke, who have made 98 international appearances including three at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, are in high demand around the world and to provide a compelling proposition to him which he accepted is a feat that should be applauded,”
“In addition, I would also like to thank Fox Sports for supporting this signing through the marquee player fund and also recognise the important role that our Head of Hyundai A-League, Greg O’Rourke, and General Manager Leagues, Tracey Scott, played throughout the negotiations.
“With the start of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season only 75 days away, I am sure that today’s announcement will pique the interest of all football fans who are eagerly awaiting the opening round,” Gallop concluded.