Japanese star Keisuke Honda joins A-League champions Melbourne Victory

Honda, who retired from international football after Japan's heartbreaking World Cup exit in a last-gasp defeat to Belgium, put pen to paper for the 2018/19 season.

Published: 07th August 2018 04:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th August 2018 04:18 AM   |  A+A-

Japan's Keisuke Honda celebrates after scoring his site's second goal during the group H match between Japan and Senegal at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Yekaterinburg Arena. | (File | AP)

By AFP

SYDNEY: Japanese star Keisuke Honda Monday signed for reigning A-League champions Melbourne Victory with the former AC Milan striker calling it the best club in Australia.

Honda, who retired from international football after Japan's heartbreaking World Cup exit in a last-gasp defeat to Belgium, put pen to paper for the 2018/19 season.

"It goes without saying that Keisuke has consistently proven himself at the highest level and we can't wait to see what he can do in Melbourne," said Victory head coach Kevin Muscat.

The talismanic 32-year-old, one of the highest profile names in Asian football, had been a free agent since departing Mexican club Pachuca.

"I am so happy to join the Melbourne Victory. I knew they were interested in me one week after the World Cup," he told Fox Sports.

"I really like a new challenge, that's me.

"I checked a couple of things. Melbourne Victory is the most successful club in the A-League. That's amazing. They became champs many times," he added. 

Honda shot to fame at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when his goals helped Japan reach the last 16. 

He netted 37 times in 98 appearances for his country and was the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018).

Instantly recognisable with his spiky, bleach-blond hair, he spent four seasons at AC Milan and has also played for VVV-Venlo in Holland and CSKA Moscow.

"Today's announcement that Keisuke Honda will be joining Melbourne Victory is a significant boon for the upcoming Hyundai A-League season," said Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop.

"To have a player of his experience, calibre and marketability will also boost the Hyundai A-League's image and reputation within the Asian region and around the world."

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