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Soccer-Australia captain Neill joins Sydney in A-league

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SYDNEY, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Australia's national soccer captain Lucas Neill will link with Italian marquee player Alessandro del Piero and fellow Socceroo Brett Emerton at Sydney FC, the A-League club said on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Neill, who played for Blackburn Rovers, Everton and West Ham United in the English Premier League as well as in Turkey for Galatasaray, was released by his United Arab Emirates-based club Al Wasl last month.

The defender's signature for the two-times A-League champions comes on the back of the club extending coach Frank Farina's contract earlier this week.

Farina took over at Sydney in November after coach Ian Crook resigned with the side bottom of the A-League. They are now in playoffs contention.

Local media had reported Neill, who has played 89 times for Australia and appeared for them at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals, was about to join A-League side Melbourne Heart.

Neill, however, met with Sydney officials on Friday and signed with the club on Saturday, News Limited reported.

"I'm a Sydney boy and I'm excited to be coming back to Australia to play club football in front of friends and family with Sydney FC," Neill said in a statement released by the club.

Sydney said Neill would start training with the team on Sunday and would be available for selection in time for next week's clash against the Heart. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Julian Linden)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130215/soccer-australia-captain-neill-joins-sydney-league