After several false starts and more than two months of tortuous wrangling, Socceroos star Harry Kewell has agreed to join the Melbourne Victory.
Kewell has signed a three-year deal with the A-League club and will join his new team-mates in Melbourne in the first week of September.
The Victory have been negotiating with Kewell and agent Bernie Mandic since June towards a deal with the club involving a complex revenue-sharing deal. Several stumbling blocks, including a side deal with Football Federation Australia, have threatened the deal going ahead.
Club chairman Anthony Di Pietro said: "We are delighted to announce that Harry has chosen to play for our club.
"Harry is an Australian sporting icon and will bring not only incredible talent to Melbourne Victory but will attract more fans to football and boost greater interest and participation in the sport in Australia. Our discussions with Harry have been progressing for some time and we are delighted to have completed what is the most significant signing in Australian football and Hyundai A-League history," Di Pietro added.
Kewell, 32, last played for Turkish club Galatasaray and his 15-year career in Europe included stints with Premier League clubs Leeds and Liverpool, including an appearance in a winning Champions League final for the Reds. He has never played in Australia's top-flight domestic competition, having left his hometown Sydney as a teenager.
The player himself says he is excited to be returning home in what is the most significant deal yet seen in Australian football.
"I am delighted to be joining Melbourne Victory. It is a great club whose record in the A-League speaks for itself. I am looking forward to playing in front of the Victory supporters with my new team-mates. I am proud to be Australian and want to give something back to the game there. It has always been my ambition to play in my home country and I am very pleased to have that opportunity by playing for Melbourne Victory," Kewell said.
Kewell has played more than 50 times for Australia, and been part of four World Cup campaigns. The forward is Australian football's most recognisable face, and surpasses Dwight Yorke and Robbie Fowler as the A-League's biggest name signings to date.