Western Sydney have confirmed defender Matthew Spiranovic is returning to Asia with the Socceroo signing for Chinese Super League side Hangzhou Greentown FC.
Having joined the Wanderers following stints at Al-Arabi, Urawa Red Diamonds and FC Nurnberg, Spiranovic enjoyed consistent game time with the Red & Black which led to substantial team and personal success.
A significant part of the Wanderers’ run to the 2014 Hyundai A-League Grand Final, Spiranovic opened the scoring for the Red & Black in the decider against Brisbane Roar and followed that up with the selection in the PFA Team of the Year as well as playing every minute of the Socceroos 2014 World Cup Finals campaign.
The best was still yet to come though as the classy central defender earned an unprecedented Asian double.
Part of the backline that conceded only a single goal at home, Spiranovic played in both legs of the AFC Champions League Final against Al-Hilal that saw the Wanderers become the first Australian team to win the prestigious continental title.
He followed that up soon afterwards as his Wanderers form again saw him selected for the Socceroos, this time playing all but 90 minutes in the Asian Cup as the national team won the trophy for the first time in history.
Leaving the Wanderers after 44 appearances in the Hyundai A-League, AFC Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup, Spiranovic will be remembered as one of the most talented centre backs to grace the domestic league and a hero to many in Western Sydney.
Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas thanked Spiranovic for his service and wished him the best as he continues his career.
“Matthew’s time at the Wanderers saw our club reach the heights in both the domestic competition and AFC Champions League and he will be fondly remembered by the Wanderers faithful,” said Tsatsimas.
“We thank Matthew for his service and wish him the best of luck as he continues his career in China."
Spiranovic thanked the Club and the fans for his time in Western Sydney.
“Winning the AFC Champions League final was the big one but our success on the park overall and being part of a club which is so young but still has that winning culture in so many different areas of the club has been amazing to be a part of,” said Spiranovic.
“The fans are truly incredible - they have been pioneers in a way for football fans in Australia and without them, there is no way that we would have made history like we did.
“I had never played professionally in Australia prior to coming to the Wanderers, so to experience the best that football can offer in terms of success and coaching and helping me achieve my peak as a footballer while being here, after playing in countries like Germany and Japan, is something that I will never forget.
“Popa’s drive and attention to detail is unlike anything that I had experienced before from a coach. Our success came from his ability to make us focus every day and learn something new every day and not look any further than the next session and next match. He helped me reach my peak as a player so for that to happen after I had spent many years overseas prior to my Wanderers experience, I can’t thank him enough. I feel privileged to have played under him.
“I am very excited about the next challenge and new chapter ahead. The Chinese Super League boasts so many fantastic players that have been at the biggest clubs and leagues in the world. Playing regularly against players such as Demba Ba, Robinho, Paulinho, Momo Sissoko, Elkeson and Ricardo Goulart will be a massive test and something that I look forward to.”