Ali Abbas, who fought his way back from a potentially career-ending injury, has been released by Sydney FC to pursue a career opportunity overseas.
Fan favourite, Abbas, spent four seasons with the Sky Blues playing 68 times in the A-League.
The combative left winger and fullback underlined his fighting spirit and club legendary status in January when returned from a long injury layoff in a thrilling cameo.
In his first-game since suffering a horrendous knee injury against the Wanderers in November 2014, Abbas scored the match-sealing goal in the Sky Blues’ 2-0 win over Newcastle at ANZ Stadium.
“It couldn’t have been scripted any better. It’s a day for Ali Abbas, let the headlines be about him,” Arnold said at the time.
“I have to be honest I said to Tony Pignata when we were doing the salary cap at the start of the season I didn’t think he would come back.
“I thought he would struggle to get on the pitch again with the horrific injury that he had but the amount of work that kid has done and the effort he has put in.
“He hasn’t had a day off in the 13 months since he copped the injury. I get to training the earliest at 7.30 and Ali is there at 7.35.
“He’s working and working non-stop and when he couldn’t run he was boxing or doing cardio work and getting himself fit. It’s a great story how it’s panned out for him today.”
The former Newcastle Jet, featured three times in the FFA Cup and played in four AFC Champions League games for Sydney.
Abbas thanked the Sky Blues Members, fans and staff for their support during his time at the club.
“I am very sad to be leaving Sydney FC but this is a good opportunity overseas," the dimunitive Iraqi said.
“I have really enjoyed my time here and I am so proud to have represented the fantastic members and fans at Allianz Stadium.
“The support I have received throughout the years has made me proud to be a part of the Sky Blue family and the club will always remain in my memory.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Sydney FC and I wish them well for the future.”
Arnold wished Abbas well in the next stage of his career.
“Ali has been a great servant for Sydney FC and has showed fantastic courage,” Arnold said.
“We would have liked to have kept Ali for another year but understand this was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
“I’d like to thank Ali for everything he’s given to the club over the past four seasons and I wish him well on this new chapter.”comments