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By ESPN Staff

Ibini leaves A-League for Chinese soccer

Central Coast star Bernie Ibini has completed a three-year deal to join ambitious Chinese Super League (CSL) newcomers Shanghai SIPG and says he hopes it's a stepping stone to Europe.

The 20-year-old attacker signed his contract in China on Tuesday after completing a medical check.

"Shanghai SIPG have made me feel very welcome," Ibini said.

"I feel this is a great opportunity and a new chapter for myself."

"While it is not the move to Europe everyone was expecting, I think Australians have seen through the Asian Champions League that the Chinese Super League is of a strong standard.

"I think it is a little step up and maybe I have to reach my goals in a bit of a different way.

"That's a challenge I'm up for.

"Shanghai SIPG understand that I have ambitions to get to Europe and will help me in the best way they can to reach that goal, just as the Mariners did."

Ibini scored 15 goals in 74 first-team appearances for A-League champions Central Coast.

His first chance to impress his new fans might come on Saturday June 22 in Shanghai, when the 2012 China League One winners play Wuhan Zall at home.

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