Victory deal saves Honda from retirement

Keisuke Honda is keen to get on the training pitch with his new Melbourne Victory teammates.
Keisuke Honda is keen to get on the training pitch with his new Melbourne Victory teammates.

Japan superstar Keisuke Honda was planning to retire from soccer before Melbourne Victory offered him an A-League contract.

The 32-year-old fronted a huge media contingent on Wednesday after arriving in Melbourne this week, with many Japanese journalists travelling to cover his first press conference.

Retired from international football Honda says he didn't think he would play on at all after the World Cup but a meeting with Victory coach Kevin Muscat convinced him to join the A-League champions - on a one-year deal believed to be worth $2.9 million

"I was thinking to quit my career after the World Cup but lucky this club made me a great offer that's changed my career," Honda, who has 98 international caps to his name, said.

"I changed my mind after I spoke to Kevin directly.

"He said to me he really wants to succeed as a club ... so he's an ambitious person and I'm an ambitious person as well, so I was inspired by him.

"That was a big meeting for me."

Muscat says the pair spoke about the club's ambitions in the Asian Champions League.

"It gives Keisuke an opportunity for the first time, going back to Japan and playing against a club side in Japan," he said.

"He's played many internationals there and has been away from Japan for a number of years."

Muscat didn't give away where to best use the versatile Honda, given the departure of star striker Besart Berisha.

Victory are still chasing two players to complete their squad.

Honda made his name as an attacking midfielder but can play a number of positions across the front and middle thirds.

"It's given me a great deal of time to think about how we set up but rest assured that our members and fans should be excited about the prospect because we've got some real flexibility in our attacking sense," Muscat said.

He didn't rule out Honda turning out for the club's FFA Cup round of 16 match against NSW NPL side Apia Leichhardt next Tuesday.

Australian Associated Press