Rhys Williams leaves Victory for new club

Melbourne Victory have confirmed defender Rhys Williams has left the club to take up an opportunity in the Middle East.

Williams, who was contracted for another year at Victory, has joined Saudi Arabian side Al-Qadsiah.

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The 29-year-old had an excellent season in Melbourne in 2017/18, making 32 appearances for the club in all competitions.

But in a blow for Williams, he missed out on the Grand Final win over Newcastle Jets due to injury.

"We are obviously extremely disappointed to lose a player of Rhys' quality," coach Kevin Muscat said.

"We'd planned for Rhys to be here for at least another season, but in the end we honoured the agreement we made when he first joined the club, so we thank him for his contribution and wish him all the best.

"While it's frustrating when things like this happen, we will continue adding quality players to the squad ahead of the new season."

Williams' departure leaves Victory with only Thomas Deng and Leigh Broxham capable of playing in central defence as the club begins their pre-season campaign.

The versatile defender will be hoping his move abroad will work in his favour as he looks to break into Graham Arnold's Caltex Socceroos plans for January's AFC Asian Cup in the UAE.