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Jan 14, 2013

Paartalu released by Roar

A day that was supposed to celebrate Brisbane Roar recruit Jade North's official arrival has ended with 2011 grand final hero Erik Paartalu's departure.

Socceroos defender North was shown off by the two-time A-League champions on Tuesday - but he was upstaged by Paartalu's conspicuous absence.

Amid speculation linking him with the Chinese Super League (CSL), Paartalu was banished from the Roar squad on Tuesday morning and told to train with the youth team until his future was decided.

Hours later Paartalu provided his response - he had signed a lucrative two-year deal with CSL outfit Tianjin Teda.

The towering defensive midfielder had started 85 straight games for the Roar since arriving in 2010, contributing to their back-to-back championships.

He will be remembered best by Roar fans for his last gasp extra-time goal in the 2010/11 decider against Central Coast that forced a penalty shootout which Brisbane claimed in dramatic fashion.

"The history books will always mark Erik's on-field contribution in helping secure Brisbane's first two championship trophies," Roar coach Mike Mulvey said.

"He has been very professional in my time at the club and shown a commitment in helping the club turn things around.

"He is moving on and we now need to concentrate on the players who remain at the club."

Former Australian under 17 rep Paartalu will fly out this weekend, ensuring last round's 1-0 loss in Newcastle was his final game for the Roar.

"I can't say that money didn't come into the equation when making this decision because a footballer's career is relatively short and I am still ambitious," Paartalu told The Courier-Mail website.

"Having said this I have a strong desire to continue my football development and believe the new challenge in the Chinese Super League will help take my game to a new level.

"Whilst the past few months have been challenging I've loved my time here at the Roar and leave with fond memories."

It stole the thunder from North's trumpeted arrival.

North has been injected into a Roar side that sits one point clear of dead-last Wellington on the A-League ladder due to nine losses in 16 games.

And Paartalu's departure will only add to the pressure ahead of the Roar's tough home game against in-form Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.

North - whose most recent club stint was in December for Japanese outfit Consadole Sapporo - hoped to be the catalyst Brisbane needed to turn their season around.

"Hopefully I bring something different to the team. If it is a bit stale hopefully I can freshen things up a bit by just having a different personality around the training room or on the pitch," North said.

"(And) players come and go, it's part of football - we are all professional.

"Everything they need is here. They have won back to back (titles). They just need to grab it by the scruff of the neck and show who the true champions are."

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