The start of Manchester City's reign of Melbourne will begin with Spain's all-time greatest goal scorer, after David Villa reportedly signed a 10-game guest stint with Melbourne City.
The re-branded Melbourne Heart club will begin their new era with a World Cup winner next season among their ranks. Villa signed a three-year-deal this week with City's other club, New York City FC, but will play his next club match in Australia because New York's Major League Soccer season doesn't begin until March 2015.
Villa will join Melbourne City for the start of the A-League season in October and will play up until December, when he will move to New York.
Ferran Soriano, the chief executive of the City Football Group, said: "We are very proud to have David Villa as part of the City family and are thrilled to announce he will play for Melbourne City FC in the Hyundai A-League this season. The sports fans of Melbourne can look forward to seeing one of the best players in world football representing their city when David brings his rare talents to AAMI Park later this year."
"It's very good for me in every sense," Villa said in a statement of his decision to link up with Melbourne City.
"From a football point of view it's the opportunity to play in a new league in a different country, and of course it will be ideal for me to get some competitive football in the period before the MLS season gets underway.
"I'm sure that playing for Melbourne City FC will be a marvellous experience.
"What I've always done throughout my career is do the best I possibly can.
"That is what I will do for Melbourne City FC in every game that I play for them.
"I'll be giving everything for the team, just like I have with every club I've played for."
Villa has played 94 times for Spain and was part of Atletico Madrid's squad this season that won the La Liga title and reached the UEFA Champions League final. He will represent Spain in their attempt to defend the World Cup in Brazil starting next week.
What colours Villa will wear in the A-League is still a vexed question.
New owner Manchester City wanted to change the strip to sky blue, but objections from Sydney FC and a ruling from an independent arbiter blocked that change. Now the club's home kit will be red and black stripes, instead of red and white, which has the possibility of upsetting another Sydney rival, the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Such is the financial power of Manchester City this could be the first of many such deals that threaten to make Melbourne City an A-League powerhouse.
A-League clubs can sign one guest player per season for a maximum of 10 games, with his wages paid outside the salary cap.
- Sydney Morning Herald
Who was the best player at the World Cup?