June 24, 2015 12:44:10 UK
Defender Nikola Petkovic has become the 11th player to leave Sydney FC since the end of last season.
The Serbian, who has spent the past two seasons with the Sky Blues, requested a release from the final year of his contract to allow him to return to Europe.
He has signed for Belgian Pro League side KVC Westerlo, with Sydney accepting an undisclosed fee for the 29-year-old.
Petkovic wanted to move back to be closer to his family, including his young son who lives in Serbia.
Playing for Sydney FC and getting to know the club’s fantastic members has been one of the highlights of my career.
He said he had had a wonderful two years with the club, adding: “Playing for Sydney FC and getting to know the club’s fantastic members has been one of the highlights of my career and an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Petkovic played 57 times for the Sky Blues, who are 5.00 to win the 2015-16 Grand Final, having moved to Australia after a two-year stint with Red Star Belgrade.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold said the central defender, who won the club’s player of the year award in his first season, had given two years of good service.
“I understand how hard it can be to be so far away from your family, especially when you have young children,” he added. “He is a very good professional and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
The Sydney squad will have been dramatically overhauled by the time next season kicks off, with Golden Boot winner Marc Janko heading the list of players to have left the club. Austria striker Janko, whose country are 101.00 to win Euro 2016, was not offered a new contract.
Others to have exited include Bernie Ibini, Sasa Ognenovski, Milos Dimitrijevic and Corey Gameiro.
So far Arnold’s only new recruits are former Perth Glory pair Riley Woodcock and Brandon O’Neill.
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