Sydney FC defender Nikola Petkovic will join Belgian Pro League club KVC Westerlo for an undisclosed fee, the club confirmed on Wednesday.
The Serbian asked to be released from the final year of his Sky Blues contract for personal reasons.
The 29 year old, who made 57 appearances for the club, will return to Europe to be closer to his family, including his young son who lives in Serbia.
Speaking about his time at Sydney FC, Petkovic said he was thankful for the opportunity the club had given him and for allowing him to head home early.
“I have had a wonderful two years at Sydney FC and I have really enjoyed being a part of this fabulous club in this amazing Harbour City,” said the versatile defender.
“Playing for Sydney FC and getting to know the club’s fantastic members has been one of the highlights of my career and an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
“I would like to say a huge thanks to Scott Barlow, Tony Pignata and Graham Arnold for allowing me to be take this opportunity to be closer to my family.
“I have many memories which I will always look back on with great pleasure and believe this club will go on to bigger and better things.”
Head Coach Graham Arnold paid tribute the former Red Star Belgrade defender who won the Sky Blues Player of the Year in his first season at the club.
“I’d like to thank Nikola for his two years of service to Sydney FC,” he said.
“I understand how hard it can be to be so far away from your family, especially when you have young children.
“He is a very good professional and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Petkovic played 54 Hyundai A-League games for Sydney FC as well as three in the Westfield FFA Cup, missing just three games during his time in the Harbour City.