Victory ambition behind Keisuke Honda retirement U-turn

Piala Malaysia 2019: Selangor 1-1 PDRM

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Keisuke Honda has admitted that he considered retiring from football before being convinced to play on by the ambition shown by new club Melbourne Victory.

Honda, who has enjoyed an illustrious career starring in the Dutch, Russian and Italian leagues, made Australia his latest port-of-call when he signed for Victory earlier this month.

Nonetheless, in the immediate aftermath of helping Japan reach the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Honda had been considering calling time on his career but decided against it after being swayed by the ambition shown from Victory coach Kevin Muscat.

“I was thinking to quit my career after the World Cup, but luckily this club offered me the great offer that changed my mind, so I appreciate it,” said the 32-year-old, according to Victory’s official website.

“To be honest, I changed my mind after I spoke to Kevin, he said to me he really wants to succeed as a club for not only the fans, for the A-League.

“So he’s an ambitious person, I’m an ambitious person as well. I am inspired by him.

“I think that’s a big, big meeting for me.”

With the A-League season set to kick off on October 19, Honda will have plenty of time to get familiar with his new surroundings at a club gunning for a record fifth championship this season.

“I want to train hard with the team,” he added. “I need time to adjust to the team.

“I still don’t know all the players so I need to understand more about this club’s style, how to play… so I want to study more, day by day.”

The A-League has been no stranger to marquee names throughout its existence, having been graced by the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and – more recently – David Villa, although Honda is arguably the biggest star to have signed for Victory.