LUCAS Neill has flown home to Australia on the eve of his J-League side Omiya Ardija's final match of the season, citing "family reasons" for his sudden exit.
The Socceroos skipper flew back to Australia today and his club admitted there was no return planned for the veteran defender.
He had only been contracted to stay with his J-League side - currently in 14th place - until the end of the season which winds up this weekend.
But he unexpectedly cut short his tenure and flew home this weekend after missing Omiya's last two games.
Neill has been under increasing pressure to maintain his grip on his spot in the Australian side, sparking speculation about his retention of the captain's armband.
The stress boiled over towards the end of Australia's win against Costa Rica in Sydney last month, when the skipper unloaded at fans, swearing at them for booing.
According to local Japanese reports, Neill intends to continue on with the Socceroos beyond next year's World Cup and on until the 2015 Asian Cup.
But Neill will need to be getting regular game time with a club to be included in new coach Ange Postecoglou's plans for Brazil.
Neill told Japanese media he was keen to return to the J-League in future.
‘‘I’m very keen on coming back to the J-League,’’ he said.
‘‘Japan and the J-League, I absolutely love it. It’s brilliant. Some of the top teams here, the style, the technical ability is fantastic.’’
However his club admitted in a press release: ‘There is no timetable set for his return to Japan.’’