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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Melbourne City sign Northern Ireland international Aaron Hughes

Aaron Hughes has been capped 96 times by Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland international defender Aaron Hughes is the latest former English Premier League player to link up with Melbourne City in the A-League.

The 35-year-old former Fulham and Newcastle United utility has agreed to a one-year deal with the sister club of Manchester City, joining ex-Hull City and West Bromwich Albion star Robert Koren.

Former Chelsea and Newcastle winger Damien Duff was with the Victoria-based side last season while ex-Leeds and Liverpool forward Harry Kewell played with them for one year from 2013. Other high profile recruits include ex-Spain international David Villa (2014) and 15-cap Dutch international Kew Jaliens.

"Aaron is an extremely experienced professional and is an excellent addition to our squad," manager John van't Schip told City's official website.

"He brings with him a vast amount of Premier League and international experience which will be of great benefit to the team and his qualities will greatly strengthen our defence."

Hughes said that his former Fulham teammate Duff had influenced his decision to head to Melbourne and that City's ambitious project added to the lure.

"I played a few years with Damien Duff [at Fulham] and he spoke highly of not just the club but the people as well and said the whole experience was fantastic," Hughes said.

"I just want to come in here and have a good season, be solid and contribute what I can to the team. Hopefully we can improve and go even further this year."

Hughes began his career at Newcastle United where he made 279 appearances in all competitions after debuting as an 18-year-old. He had a successful six and a half-year spell with Fulham and was a teammate of Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer in the Cottagers' run to the 2010 UEFA Europa League final.

He is the second most capped player in Northern Ireland history, earning 96 caps since 1999 and captaining the side between 2003 and 2011.

Hughes can slot in anywhere across the back four and has also played as a defensive midfielder.

He is the club's fifth signing ahead of the new season, following Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic, Steve Kuzmanovski, Corey Gameiro and Harry Novillo, who recently signed a permanent deal.

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