Sydney FC defender Petkovic joins Westerlo

Sydney FC have accepted an undisclosed fee from Belgian club KVC Westerlo for defender Nikola Petkovic.

The 29-year-old Serbian asked to be released from the final year of his contract for personal reasons and will return to Europe.

While neither club has revealed the agreed fee, Petkovic has signed a two-year deal with the Belgian Pro League outfit.

Petkovic, whose young son lives in Serbia, thanked Sydney FC for allowing him to leave.

"I have had a wonderful two years at Sydney FC and I have really enjoyed being a part of this fabulous club in this amazing Harbour City," he said.

"Playing for Sydney FC and getting to know the club’s fantastic members has been one of the highlights of my career and an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

"I would like to say a huge thanks to Scott Barlow, Tony Pignata and Graham Arnold for allowing me to be take this opportunity to be closer to my family.

"I have many memories which I will always look back on with great pleasure and believe this club will go on to bigger and better things."

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold wished Petkovic well, and said family had to come first for the former Red Star Belgrade defender.

"I’d like to thank Nikola for his two years of service to Sydney FC," he said.

"I understand how hard it can be to be so far away from your family, especially when you have young children. 

"He is a very good professional and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours."