Melbourne Victory made one of the biggest Hyundai A-League signings of all time when they announced Keisuke Honda in August.
The Japanese international’s arrival on Australian shores was greeted with huge excitement.
Regarded as one of the best Asian players of his generation, the 32-year-old will play a big role in defending Victory’s Championship title.
Who are Melbourne Victory, Keisuke Honda’s new team?
One of the Hyundai A-League’s inaugural clubs, Melbourne Victory are a giant of Australian football.
The club won their fourth Hyundai A-League Championship last season against Newcastle Jets, meaning they now hold four Grand Final trophies (2007, 2009, 2015, 2018) – more than any other club.
They’ve also won the Hyundai A-League Premiership three times (2006/07, 2008/09, 2014/15) and the FFA Cup once (2015).
Managed by former player and Australian defender Kevin Muscat, Victory are expected to challenge for the big trophies again this season, particularly now that Honda is on their team.
Who are Melbourne Victory’s rivals?
Melbourne Victory’s main rival in the Hyundai A-League is Melbourne City.
Their cross-town neighbours were founded as Melbourne Heart in 2009, but rebranded as Melbourne City in 2014.
The two Melbourne rivals recently competed in the Melbourne Derby last Saturday, where Honda scored on his debut but City won 2-1.
That Derby is renown as one of the most exciting matches of the Hyundai A-League season, and Victory have the upper hand on their rivals with 12 wins.
Victory also share a Hyundai A-League rivalry with Sydney FC. Known as the Sky Blues, Sydney have won three Championships and are also considered one of the country’s biggest clubs.
The two teams face off in the ‘Big Blue’ rivalry, which is named after the playing colours of both sides, and because of the heated nature of the contest.
Victory and Sydney met in the Hyundai A-League Semi Final last season, where Melbourne Victory won 3-2.
Who are this season’s Hyundai A-League contenders?
Melbourne Victory are expected to compete for the major honours this season.
Rivals Sydney FC have won the last two Hyundai A-League Premierships and will be among the contenders too, while Melbourne City should also be in contention.
Last year’s Grand Finalists Newcastle Jets will be keen one going one step further, and Perth Glory are in good shape to clinch their first Hyundai A-League silverware.
Who are the Hyundai A-League’s star players?
Honda isn’t the only international star the Hyundai A-League has to offer.
He’ll be joined by Swedish striker Ola Toivonen in Melbourne who, like Honda, scored at this year’s FIFA World Cup.
Across town at Melbourne City, Uruguayan forward Bruno Fornaroli has been one of the best strikers in the competition’s recent history.
Sydney FC boast two experienced foreign recruits in ex-Premier League marksman Adam Le Fondre and Dutch maestro Siem de Jong.
Meanwhile, Western Sydney Wanderers’ Spanish striker Oriol Riera, former Newcastle United hard man and Wellington Phoenix defender Steven Taylor and Scottish live-wire Ross McCormack, who plays for Central Coast Mariners, are just some of the stars in the league.