Sydney FC have added another superstar to their books, signing two-time Australian World Cup midfielder Jason Culina for the upcoming A-League season.
The 32-year-old has not played competitively since breaking down with a potentially career-ending knee injury at the Asian Cup in January last year, but has been training with the club for more than four months.
His persistence paid off on Thursday night when he signed a one-year deal, but the midfielder admitted retirement thoughts had loomed large during his lengthy rehabilitation.
"It's absolutely brilliant to be back," Culina, who has represented the Socceroos 58 times, said in a statement.
"It's something that kept me awake at night, thinking about playing again so I'm really happy and grateful to have the opportunity to continue my career so close to home with a club like Sydney FC.
"There were times I thought I wanted to give up but I knew that if I put in the effort and commitment I could get back so I never gave up on the desire to play again.
"I've had to put in a lot of hard work and some days it has been hard but I'd like to sincerely thank Stan Ivancic (Sydney FC physiotherapist) and the Sydney FC medical staff for what they did in helping me with my rehab at what was a tough time.
"Without them I wouldn't be where I am at the moment."
Culina joins Sydney FC's galaxy of stars where he will line up alongside Italian giant Alessandro del Piero and Socceroo Brett Emerton.
Coach Ian Crook welcomed the addition of another top-shelf veteran to his squad.
"Jason has had to go through a lot to get to this point and we're very happy to have him join Sydney FC," Crook said.
"He has shown he is a tremendous football player, he's now proven his fitness, his desire has been there for all to see throughout the last few months and we're really happy that he has shown his commitment to Sydney FC."