Football: Kennedy signs for Melbourne City as Villa leaves

Football: Kennedy signs for Melbourne City as Villa leaves

SYDNEY - Melbourne City on Thursday signed Socceroo striker Josh Kennedy in a two-year deal as Spanish superstar David Villa headed for New York.

Kennedy will join the Manchester City-owned A-League club in January after spending over five years in the J-League with Nagoya Grampus.

Melbourne City said Kennedy, 32, has signed on as the club's Australian marquee player until the end of the 2015-16 season.

"I'm very excited about this project," Kennedy said in a club statement.

"It's a new chapter in my career, but my goal will be the same - to help my club achieve all of its aspirations. I believe Melbourne City has huge potential." Kennedy has scored 17 goals in 33 international appearances, including the goal to seal Australia's qualification for the 2014 World Cup in a 1-0 win over Iraq.

After making Australia's squads for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, Kennedy missed out on Brazil this year with a back injury.

Kennedy claimed the golden boot for the J-League's leading scorer with Nagoya in 2010, a feat he repeated the following year.

Kennedy's news comes as Villa, the Spanish superstar who scored two goals, cut short his announced 10-game loan deal after just four games to return to New York City.

City captain Patrick Kisnorbo said the hype surrounding Villa's short stay was "a little bit" of a distraction.

"He's a big, big player," Kisnorbo said. "We were privileged to have him here but, now he's gone, we need to move forward as a playing group.

"Now someone else gets a chance in that position that he filled."

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