AFP SYDNEY (AFP-Jiji) — Japanese star Keisuke Honda on Monday signed with reigning A-League champion Melbourne Victory, with the former AC Milan striker calling it the best club in Australia.
Honda, who retired from international soccer after Japan’s heartbreaking World Cup exit in a last-gasp loss 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,” Victory head coach Kevin Muscat said.
The talismanic 32-year-old, one of the highest profile names in Asian soccer, 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 recognizable with his spiky, bleach-blond hair, he spent four seasons at AC Milan and has also played for VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands and CSKA Moscow.