Sydney FC announced the signing of star Australia midfielder Jason Culina for the remainder of the 2012/13 A-League season.
The 32-year-old signed with the Sky Blues on Thursday after undergoing exhaustive rehabilitation from a leg injury that threatened to end his stellar career.
Out of action since breaking down at the 2011 Asian Cup, Culina – who reached a severance settlement with Newcastle Jets in June after being locked in conflict with the club cover insurance and compensation issues – has impressed his new Sydney FC team-mates with his dedication and commitment to training.
The veteran of 58 internationals for the Socceroos, including the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, declared he was thrilled to be back.
'It’s absolutely brilliant to be back," Culina said. '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 also expressed his joy at continuing his career in his hometown in front of family and friends.
'It’s always special when you play for a big club and when it is also in your home town it’s extra special," he said.
'I just have to continue working hard to make sure I can get to the point where I can start playing and repay the faith that has been shown in me."
Sydney FC coach Ian Crook welcomed Culina to Sydney FC, applauding his dedication to regaining his fitness and declaring the Socceroo a 'great addition" to the 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."