After seven seasons and 221 appearances, Serbian midfielder Miloš Ninković will depart Sydney FC, the club announced on Tuesday evening.
The decision comes after several weeks of negotiations, in which the club states Ninković was offered a new playing contract along with “a role in player and game development”, but it’s an offer Ninković has elected to turn down, bidding farewell to the club he joined in July, 2015.
In a statement released by the club, Sydney FC Chief Executive Officer Adam Santo said: “Miloš is a legend of our club and we spent a number of weeks talking to him, in the hope he would continue to play a role in our future.
“We were optimistic he would accept our offer to continue playing and remain at the club long term, where he would transition into full time employment.
“It has always been our intention for Miloš to finish his playing career with Sydney FC.
“Despite our best efforts, Miloš has decided to move on and we thank him for the major contribution he has made to our club.”
Ninković departs the Sky Blues as a three-time Isuzu UTE A-League Champion. The 37-year-old also won three Premierships and an FFA Cup throughout his seven seasons at the club, along with two Johnny Warren Medals (2016-17, 2020-21) and the 2018-19 Joe Marston Medal.
Ninković thanked the club’s members and fans for their support throughout his Sky Blues stint, expressing his sadness at closing the current chapter of his footballing career whilst adding the decision was in the best interests of his family.
“I want to say thank-you to all Sydney FC members and supporters for seven fantastic years at Sydney FC,” he said.
“I had the greatest times of my career at this club and for that I want to thank everyone connected with Sydney FC, including the board of directors, teammates and the Sydney FC staff.
“I’m sad to be leaving but I’ve made this decision in the best interests of my family and I thank everyone for their support.
“I will always look back at my time in Sky Blue with immense happiness and pride at what we were able to achieve together.
“I will never forget these years and I will also have a huge fondness and a strong bond with our Members and fans.
“I wish the club every success in the future.”
Ninković foreshadowed his Sydney exit in early June, taking to social media to reveal he would be calling time on his Sky Blues tenure.
“I have an important announcement to make and I feel my fans/followers should be the first ones to know as our loyalty is to each other and to the great game of football that we all love…,” he said, in an Instagram post which has since been removed.
“With great disappointment I will no longer be playing in the colours where you are most familiar with me and the club with whom I’ve achieved many victories…”
The club responded the following morning with a statement which assured the fans discussions about his future were continuing, but less than three weeks later his departure has been confirmed.