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By ESPN Staff

Culina to play A-League for Gold Coast

Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina has confirmed he will return to Australia to play in the A-League next season for Gold Coast United.

The 28-year-old is set to become one of the competition's highest-paid footballers after signing a three-year deal worth $3.6 million.

Culina will see out the remainder of his contract with PSV Eindhoven before returning home after a decade in the Netherlands.

PSV had also offered Culina a new three-year deal and Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb had also made enquiries about signing him.

Culina, who has helped PSV to win the last three Dutch titles, said it was a tough decision to leave Eindhoven and Champions League football.

"PSV is a great club and I felt flattered when they offered me a contract extension, but I had already made up my mind to return to Australia," he told the club's official website.

Gold Coast have been after Culina's signature for months to be their marquee player and skipper in their debut A-League season.

And Culina, whose father Branko was a former coach of Sydney FC, believed his move would be a boost for the national competition.

"I want to make a fresh start and I am ready for a new challenge," he said.

"I am the first international who returns to Australia and I am keen to promote the national competition and raise the standard."

"Players have returned to Australia from Europe before, but that was usually at the end of their careers. I will be 29 when we return. That's why I was anxious to complete a three-year deal."

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