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By ESPN Staff

Adelaide's Nathan Burns joins AEK Athens

Australian striker Nathan Burns says he has taken a significant step in his soccer career by signing with Greek powerhouse AEK Athens.

The Adelaide United 20-year-old has been released by the Reds to play in Athens, reportedly on a four-year contract.

"AEK is providing me a great opportunity to play in Europe," Burns told the Greek club's website.

"I wanted this opportunity and I am fortunate to have selected a great team like AEK which every year challenges for the championship, plays good football and provides a spectacle for fans.

"My first impressions of the club are excellent because it is very well organised.

"I believe this is a significant step in my footballing career."

Burns, who made his debut for the Socceroos last year as a second half substitute, will play alongside Brazilian star Rivaldo at AEK Athens, which finished second in last season's Greek Super League.

Burns departs weeks after his former Adelaide teammate Bruce Djite announced he was leaving the Reds for Turkish club Genclerbirligi.

Adelaide tried to retain Burns but the lure of Europe proved irresistible.

"Nathan has been keen for sometime to look at overseas opportunities," Adelaide United chief executive officer Sam Ciccarello said in a statement.

"And whilst we made every effort to hold on to him with a very strong offer ... we respect and support Nathan's desire to compete in a European league.

"He most certainly goes with our very best wishes. We know that Nathan is a great talent and feel that he has a big future in front of him."

Burns made 54 appearances and scored 11 goals for Adelaide United in the A-League.

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