Melbourne Victory have lost their battle to retain influential left-back Adama Traore.
The 24-year-old rejected an offer to extend his stay at the club in a bid to pursue his dream of playing in Europe.
Traore joined Victory at the beginning of the 2012/13 season from Gold Coast United and coach Kevin Muscat said the club had done everything possible to keep him in navy next season.
“Adama has been an important part of our defensive unit for the past two seasons and everyone at Victory was certainly keen to see him remain at the club, but despite our best efforts, that won’t be the case,” Muscat said.
“I realise the fans will be just as disappointed as we are that Adama is leaving, but I know every Victory supporter will join me in wishing him all the very best as he pursues his European dreams.”
Traore thanked Victory for their support over the past two years. In April this year he became an Australian citizenship. The defender had hoped to win selection for the Socceroos but was prohibited by FIFA because he represented Côte d'Ivoire at youth level.
“I have loved every minute that I have been at Melbourne Victory,” Traore said.
“While I would like to have stayed at the club next season, the opportunity to play in Europe is too good for me to pass up.
“I’d like to thank Kevin, my teammates and all the staff at the club for everything they have done for me.
"I’d also like to say a big thank you to the fans who have made playing for Melbourne very, very special and even though I am looking forward to the next stage of my career I'm certainly going to miss playing here.”