Experienced Spanish attacker Markel Susaeta has inked a deal to join Melbourne City for the rest of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season.
The 32-year-old has clocked up more than 500 career appearances in his 12 seasons playing for Athletic Bilbao and most recently had a short stint at J-League outfit Gamba Osaka.
Susaeta turned out 380 times in La Liga and 75 times in European competition, lifting the Spanish Supercopa with the Basque club in 2015/16, in a 5-1 aggregate win against FC Barcelona.
He also reached the UEFA Europa League final in 2011/12 and was on the losing side in the Copa del Rey final – the Spanish FA Cup – on three occasions.
Susaeta scored on his only international cap for Spain, as the then world champions beat Panama 5-1 in November 2012, with Chelsea star Pedro netting a double and Sergio Ramos and David Villa also on the scoresheet.
The forward, who will be available for Saturday’s Round 15 clash with Newcastle Jets – pending visa approval – came through the famed Athletic Bilbao cantera system, has also represented the Basque Country seven times in exhibition matches.
“I’m excited to be joining Melbourne City for the rest of the season and can’t wait to get started in Australia,” Susaeta told Melbourne City’s official website.
“I’m hoping I can help the group play the exciting, attacking football the Club prides itself on and achieve the success the group has set out at the start of the season.”
Susaeta fills City’s final visa spot, which became open after Javier Cabrera was released last week after only nine Hyundai A-League appearances.
“We’re incredibly pleased to have a player like Markel at Melbourne City,” Melbourne City FC Director of Football Michael Petrillo said.
“Markel is a player that is well suited to the style of game we have implemented under Erick [Mombaerts] and a player who will add flair, potency and experience to our front third.
“We have been tracking Markel for quite some time now so to be able to get him into the squad is testament to the Club and its ability to attract a player of Markel’s pedigree.”
“His outstanding record at Athletic Bilbao speaks for itself and his experience in La Liga and Europe will lift the whole squad as we look to continue our push towards the latter stages of the season.”
Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets
Saturday, 18 January 2020
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports