Former Adelaide United defender Dylan McGowan has signed a multi-year deal with Portuguese Primeira Liga side Pacos Ferreira.
“It's a really good move for me at this stage of my career to be in a top league like this and I’m ecstatic really that it’s all locked away,” McGowan told Fox Sports.
“It was done and dusted in January really.
“They saw something that they liked in me and once that interest was there it was a straightforward decision to make it happen.
“It’s a high quality league and I’ll be playing against some huge clubs.
“On the weekend I went to watch them against Porto and there’s obviously Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, too — Champions League and Europa League clubs, so that’ll be exciting for me to play against that quality of opposition,” he said.
McGowan has been a mainstay in the heart of the Reds' defence for the past three seasons, starting every game in the last two campaigns.
And he revealed the lure of a Caltex Socceroos jersey was the main reason for his decision.
“I had bigger money offers from all over Asia, most notably from Korea,” he said.
“But I wanted to give myself a really good chance of making the Socceroos and show that ambition that’s required to be in the national team.
“Hopefully this move can put me in the window for that and then I can play well enough to get that chance,” he said.
Pacos Ferreira finished seventh in the Portuguese top-flight last season.
“They’ve just got such a huge history in football, the Portuguese,” McGowan said.
“They’ve got so many coaches doing well and they produce so many quality players.
“It’s rated really highly in Europe and it’s a league that’s scouted very heavily.
“If I can come over and do well hopefully it’ll pave the way for other Australians as well to make the move here,” he added.