Billy Celeski leaves Melbourne Victory for UAE

Scott Barbour

Celeski leaves after five seasons in Melbourne to sign an AU$500,000 deal with Sharjah-based Al Shaab.

Big money in the United Arab Emirates has come calling for another A-League player, this time claiming Melbourne Victory's Billy Celeski. The 28-year-old midfielder will complete a move to Arabian Gulf League outfit Al-Shaab, pending a medical. The Commandos finished twelfth in the fourteen team top flight, previously known at the UAE Pro-League. According to a report in FourFourTwo Australia, the move is worth AU$500,000 for a single season.

Celeski played in all twenty-seven games for the Victory last season, starting twenty-five and established himself as a key part of new manager Ange Postecoglou's third place side. He was also the only Victory player to feature in both major A-League friendlies this offseason, replacing Liam Miller as a half-time substitute in the All-Star Game and playing 90 minutes in the Victory's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool. Celeski has been in Melbourne since joining the Victory in its 2008/09 double season, having previously spent two seasons with Perth Glory.

Said Postecoglou in a club press release,

"Billy has been an integral part of Victory's team over several years and in the pat week or so we have seen him perform very well against some of the best midfielders in the world. We wish Billy all the best for the upcoming season in the Middle East and I'm sure many of our fans will be keeping a close eye on his performances, albeit from afar."

Al Shaab reportedly missed out on Sydney FC's UAE Pro-League veteran Nick Carle just last week, so landing Celeski in the pre-season had timing implications, as the 2013/14 season begins on September 14. Celeski joins Alex Brosque (Al Ain), Brett Holman (Al Nasr), Dino Dulbic (Al Wahda) and Milan Susak (Al Wasl) as Australians in the UAE this season.

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