Melbourne City FC has secured the services of former Fulham defender Aaron Hughes ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season.
The 35-year-old Northern Ireland international joins the club on a one-year deal and commenced pre-season training with his teammates at the City Football Academy in Melbourne on Monday.
Hughes is the City’s fifth signing ahead of the new season, following Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic, Steve Kuzmanovski, Corey Gameiro and Harry Novillo, who recently signed a permanent deal.
A versatile defender, who can play in any position across the back four, Hughes began his career at English Premier League club Newcastle United, making 279 appearances in all competitions after making his debut as an 18-year-old.
Boasting a wealth of experience in English football with spells at Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Brighton & Hove Albion, Hughes enjoyed a successful six and a half-year spell with Fulham and was an integral part in the club’s run to the UEFA Europa League final in 2010.
Since making his international debut in 1999, Hughes has since earned 96 caps for Northern Ireland - the second most in the nation’s history – and captained the side between 2003 and 2011.
Melbourne City FC coach John van’t Schip says Hughes’ vast experience at the top level will provide a welcome boost to the Club’s defensive stocks.
“Aaron is an extremely experienced professional and is an excellent addition to our squad,” van’t Schip said.
“He brings with him a vast amount of Premier League and international experience which will be of great benefit to the team and his qualities will greatly strengthen our defence."
Hughes acknowledged the influence of former team-mate Damien Duff when deciding to join the club, and is hoping to help the team improve of last season’s Semi-Final finish.
“I played a few years with Damien Duff [at Fulham] and he spoke highly of not just the club but the people as well and said the whole experience was fantastic,” Hughes said.
“I just want to come in here and have a good season, be solid and contribute what I can to the team. Hopefully we can improve and go even further this year.”
DOB: 08/11/1979 (35 years-old)
Place of birth: Cookstown, Northern Ireland
Clubs (Appearances, Goals): Newcastle United (205, 4), Aston Villa (54,0), Fulham (196,1), Queens Park Rangers (11,0) Brighton & Hove Albion (10, 0)