Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton to join Sydney FC
Last updated on .From the section Football
Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton has agreed a move to Australian A-League side Sydney FC.
The 32-year-old, Rovers' longest-serving player, will make a farewell appearance against Everton on Saturday.
Emerton's contract at Ewood Park was due to expire next summer, but the final year will be cancelled to allow him to return home.
"I'm a Sydney boy and I'm looking forward to representing the people of Sydney every week," said Emerton.
"Football has been very good to me and I have always said I'd like to come back and play in the A-League while I still have something to offer and thanks to Sydney FC and Blackburn Rovers that opportunity has come about a bit earlier than I had thought."
After Blackburn's 3-1 Carling Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday, Rovers manager Steve Kean said if Emerton moved it would be "a family decision, not a football decision", adding it would be "very, very sad" for the club to lose him.
Emerton has made 247 appearances and scored 13 goals at the Premier League club since arriving from Feyenoord in 2003 and becomes the first player to move directly from the Premier League to the A-League.
He is Australia's second most-capped player on 87 appearances, three behind Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, and is scheduled to play for the Socceroos in their World Cup qualifier against Thailand in Brisbane on 2 September.
His first appearance for the Sky Blues could be in a friendly against the Newcastle Jets on 17 September.