New Zealand international striker Shane Smeltz has returned to Gold Coast United for the remainder of the Australian A-League season after securing a release from his Turkish club Genclerbirligi, officials said today.
Smeltz, last season's winner of the A-League's Golden Boot with 19 goals, is in line for his first match back against North Queensland Fury at home on Friday.
Smeltz said he was thrilled to be back in Australia after a frustrating spell in Turkey. "I haven't played as much football as I would have liked in the last five or six months, so I'm just really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things," he said.
"My immediate focus is to try to help out Gold Coast United's situation. I've been following them all season and the team has done well so far but has suffered a bit of a dip recently, so hopefully I can contribute."
Smeltz, who scored New Zealand's goal in their stunning 1-1 draw with Italy at last year's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, said he suffered as a result of a management overhaul at Genclerbirligi soon after his arrival.
"They got a new coach, a new assistant coach and a new general manager who all brought with them their differing opinions and the result was that I was sidelined more than I wanted to be."