Australia international Harry Kewell has quit A-League side Melbourne Victory and returned to England for family reasons, the club said today. The former Leeds United, Liverpool and Galatasaray forward was close to signing a new two-year contract but is going back to England to support the mother of Kewell's wife, who is gravely ill, reports said.
The club confirmed that the player would not be returning for a second season. "It was one of the toughest decisions we've had to make," Kewell said in a club statement. "I enjoyed playing for Victory and living in Melbourne but family comes first and together we made a decision that it was best for us to remain close to our family at this time."
Kewell, 33, scored eight goals in 25 matches in his debut A-League season, and was a major drawcard for the A-League. "Harry's a fantastic player and I was looking forward to working with him this season, but he has family matters that need his attention so while it's unfortunate, I completely understand," new Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said.
"We'd been working very hard to come to an agreement with him and we were extremely confident both parties were close to finalising the deal, but these things happen and we wish Harry and his family all the best."
Kewell is one of Australia's highest-profile footballers, scoring 17 goals in 58 international appearances.