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By ESPN Staff

Sydney FC sign Serbian defender Petkovic

Sydney FC have signed Serbian defender Nikola Petkovic on a one-year deal, completing coach Frank Farina's new-look squad for the 2013-2014 A-League season.

The Red Star Belgrade player, currently on loan to Middle East club Al-Ahli, will link with the Sky Blues next week.

Sydney were reportedly denied permission to use Petkovic as a replacement for Terry Antonis, who is recovering from a serious thigh injury, forcing them to sign him for the entire season.

He becomes Sydney's fifth and final visa player.

The 27-year-old played in Germany's Bundesliga during a three-year stint with Eintracht Frankfurt, and regularly featured during Hapoel Tel Aviv's last Europa League campaign.

Petkovic has also represented Serbia's under-21s 34 times.

"Nikola's signing is an excellent piece of business for Sydney FC and completes our squad," Farina said in a statement on Thursday.

"He can play anywhere across the back four and will give our defence strength and depth.

"I am expecting big things from him this season and believe he will have a big influence on the squad."

Petkovic, who will be available for the Sky Blues' season opener against Newcastle on October 11, said it was a "privilege" to sign with Australia's biggest and most recognisable soccer club.

"Sydney FC has a great reputation and I can't wait to wear the Sky Blue jersey and meet the members," he said.

"The opening game at Allianz Stadium is going to be huge and is one I'm very much looking forward to."

Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero was on Wednesday unveiled as Sydney FC's new captain, replacing Terry McFlynn after three seasons at the helm.

The Sky Blues have two pre-season games left, with trial matches against Brisbane Roar on September 22 and Perth Glory on September 29.


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