Striker Ryan Griffiths has left the Newcastle Jets to join Chinese Super League club Beijing Baxi FC.
Griffiths was granted an immediate release from his A-League contract with the Jets, which was due to expire at the end of next season, to play in the lucrative Chinese league.
The 32-year-old said it was a difficult decision to leave the club but was in the best interests of his family.
"This was a hard decision because I love this club and town but I needed to consider my young family and do what is best for them and, right now, that is going to play in China," Griffiths said in a statement.
"I will always appreciate the management of the Jets for supporting me at this point in my career.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond said he understood Griffiths' reasons for wanting to leave.
"While our preference was for Ryan to stay, we understand at 32 years of age, going over to China now secures his family financially," van Egmond said.
Newcastle chief executive Robbie Middleby paid tribute to Griffiths' efforts for the club.
"It is disappointing to lose a player like Ryan but we didn't want to stand in his way, when making this move was important for his family," Middleby said.
"Any transfer decision is case by case and, as Ryan has been weighing up a move to China for some time, we understand his decision.
"Ryan has been a great player for the club and we wish him well at Beijing Baxi."
Griffiths spent the 2010 season in China with Beijing Guoan.
He played 55 games for the Jets.