World Football - Australia captain Neill joins Sydney FC

Australia captain Lucas Neill will link with Italian marquee player Alessandro del Piero and fellow Socceroo Brett Emerton at Sydney FC in the A-League.

Reuters
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Australia captain Lucas Neill

The 34-year-old Neill, who played for Blackburn Rovers, Everton and West Ham United in the Premier League as well as in Turkey for Galatasaray, was released by his United Arab Emirates-based club Al Wasl last month.

The defender's signature for the two-times A-League champions comes on the back of the club extending coach Frank Farina's contract earlier this week.

Farina took over at Sydney in November after coach Ian Crook resigned with the side bottom of the A-League. They are now in play-offs contention.

Local media had reported Neill, who has played 89 times for Australia and appeared for them at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals, was about to join A-League side Melbourne Heart.

Neill, however, met with Sydney officials on Friday and signed with the club on Saturday, News Limited reported.

"I'm a Sydney boy and I'm excited to be coming back to Australia to play club football in front of friends and family with Sydney FC," Neill said.

Sydney said Neill would start training with the team on Sunday and would be available for selection in time for next week's clash against the Heart.

Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop said: “As a Sydney junior who has seen the world through football, it’s wonderful that the journey has brought Lucas back to play for his home town club in the A-League.

“In this crucial FIFA World Cup qualifying year, it will be great to see the Socceroo captain playing in front of Australian fans in our very competitive national league."

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