Left-back Adama Traore is leaving Melbourne Victory to try and secure a professional contract in Europe.
Melbourne Victory’s most consistent defender of the past two seasons, Adama Traore, is leaving the A-League.
Buoyed by a dream to play professional football in Europe, Traore is leaving the club he loves.
The Ivorian defender joined Victory from Gold Coast United two seasons ago, quickly becoming a key figure in defence.
His marauding runs from left-back and combative defending made him a fan favourite.
But on Monday coach Kevin Muscat said the club could not make him an offer that would prevent Traore pursuing his European hopes.
“Everyone at Victory was certainly keen to see him remain at the club, but despite our best efforts, that won’t be the case,” Muscat said.
“I realise the fans will be just as disappointed as we are that Adama is leaving, but I know every Victory supporter will join me in wishing him all the very best as he pursues his European dreams.”
Traore recently secured Australian citizenship and leaves with 52 Victory appearances and one goal.
“I have loved every minute that I have been at Melbourne Victory,” he said.
“While I would like to have stayed at the club next season, the opportunity to play in Europe is too good for me to pass up.”
Traore’s decision is a blow for Victory’s hopes of improving their fourth-placed finish to the season.
Beset by injuries and a demanding schedule with Asian Champions League travel, Victory finished the season without a clean sheet in their final 19 games.
Victory were installed as $5 favourites for the 2014/15 A-League title off the back of signing Brisbane Roar forward Besart Berisha.
Somewhat amazingly, Sportingbet’s market has champions Brisbane Roar and wooden spooners Melbourne Heart equal in the betting at $6.50.
Joining them as second favourite is also Western Sydney and Adelaide United.