Western Melbourne Group today signed Greek international Panagiotis Kone as their international marquee star.
The 31-year-old attacking midfielder arrives on a two-year deal and is Western Melbourne's historic first player signing after the club announced two assistant coaches (John Anastasiadis and John Hutchinson) joined in recent weeks.
The Greek international has an pedigree of 160 games in one of the world's best leagues, Italy's Serie A and is also a Greek Championship winner.
Kone captained Italian club Bologna and also starred in the Greek national side at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they qualified for the knockout stages.
The attacking midfielder was nominated for the 2013 FIFA Puskas (goal of the year) Award for an amazing bicycle kick he scored for Bologna against Napoli.
Western Melbourne's new signing has played his entire senior career in the Italian and Greek leagues but has been out of contract since leaving Udinese in August after a loan spell with AEK Athens last season.
He was born in Albania but started his career in the Olympiakos academy followed by a move to French club Lens at the age of 17.
"I am looking forward to playing a big part for Western Melbourne on and off the field," said Kone. "I am excited to meet my new teammates but also the great Greek community in Melbourne."
"Our club has made a huge statement by signing Panagiotis Kone as our inaugural marquee player,” said Western Melbourne Group’s Football Director and former Socceroo Steve Horvat.
"Panagiotis has played at the highest level and represented his country at a World Cup in Brazil. He's an attacker who will get the fans off their seats. He brings genuine quality to our club and the league and has an international profile which will boost our club's reputation globally.
"What's more, he speaks good English and is a real character who our fans and the entire community of western Melbourne will love seeing represent them in the A-League.
"This signing shows how serious we are about building a strong squad for our first season in the A-League and we cannot wait for Panagiotis to arrive and get started."