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Honda eyes Melbourne move, Olympics place

Melbourne Victory
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 By AAP

Sanfrecce Hiroshima sign Besart Berisha from Melbourne Victory

Besart Berisha
Besart Berisha.

The A-League has lost perhaps its greatest striker after Besart Berisha secured a lucrative move to Japan.

Nearly two months after hinting at a move abroad, the competition's most prolific scorer has joined J-League leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

It means the 32-year-old won't see out the remaining season of his deal with Melbourne Victory.

But it also represents a deserved late-career payday for the Kosovo international, who's dominated the A-League since arriving at Brisbane Roar in 2011.

He moved to Victory in 2014 to win a further two titles under coach Kevin Muscat, including this season's shock triumph, and leaves with 116 A-League goals and two golden boots over seven seasons.

"I have very mixed emotions right now because I had an amazing time at Victory and in Australia," Berisha said.

"It's a little bit sad but in the end it's the right decision for me to move on at this time.

"I have to thank the fans for always supporting me, not just in the good times but also in the difficult moments. I will always be grateful."

Berisha's form has been questioned intermittently during the past two seasons but the polarising marksman nearly always silenced his critics with a rampant display and scored in every one of his five Grand Finals except 2018.

Berisha's future has been the source of speculation since May's season-deciding win over Newcastle, when he strongly intimated a move might be on the cards.

"We are disappointed to be losing a player of Besart's quality. You could always count on him to step up and deliver in the big games," Muscat said.

"However, we understand and respect his desire to tackle a new challenge and certainly wish him all the best."

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