Western United captain and former Italy international Alessandro Diamanti has signed a new contract, the A-League club announced on Friday (AEST).
Diamanti will remain with Western United in Australia on a two-year deal – a boost for the league's newest team as the 2019-20 season prepares to resume on July 16 following the COVID-19 crisis.
The 37-year-old former West Ham, Bologna and Atalanta attacker – who had been linked to rivals Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City – arrived as a marquee signing in July last year.
Diamanti has flourished in the A-League, scoring five goals and supplying seven assists in 19 appearances before the coronavirus-enforced break in March.
"We've started something special this year at Western United and I'm excited to re-sign and continue the journey we have started together," Diamanti said.
"Our coach Mark Rudan has supported me since I arrived and given me the freedom to enjoy my football and express myself, so I thank him for that. Both he and the club are building something special and I want to be part of it as long as I can.
"I was honoured to be the first captain of Western United, and I hope I can continue to help the club be successful and entertain our great fans."
"From the day he walked into the football club Alessandro has been a marquee in every sense of the word," Western United head coach Mark Rudan added.
"He's been fantastic on and off the park. His footballing skills have had the whole competition in awe, equally his positive attitude and personality has been adored by not just our fans but every football fan around the league.
"We're ecstatic as a football club to extend Diamanti's contract as we continue to build and grow Western United."
In May, Diamanti told Stats Perform News that the A-League had reignited his passion for football following his arrival from Serie B side Livorno.
"Virus or no virus, I would have kept playing anyway," he said. "For sure I will still be playing football as long as I feel physically and psychologically like this, being able to offer great performances and loving to train every day.
"Then, to be honest, to come here gave me back that lightness and that passion you always tend to lose in Europe. I will stay here in Australia next season."
Western United was sixth after their 20 matches when the league was halted due to COVID-19.
Diamanti and Western United are scheduled to resume their season against the Victory on July 16, though a location for the fixture is still to be determined due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.