Adelaide United confirm departure of captain Craig Goodwin: Full details

WATCH: The best of Craig Goodwin's Johnny Warren Medal winning 2022-23 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Reigning Johnny Warren Medallist and Adelaide United captain Craig Goodwin is returning to Saudi Pro League Al Wehda.

Goodwin is moving back to Saudi Arabia following his previous stint with the Knights of Mecca in 2019-20 amid an influx of superstars into the cashed-up top flight, where the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr), Neymar (Al Hilal) and Karin Benzema (Al Ittihad) are now playing.

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The Socceroo previously moved to Al Wehda from Adelaide in 2019 and scored four goals in 29 appearances before being loaned out to fellow Saudi club Abha and the Reds, who signed Goodwin permanently in 2022-23.

“It was never really in my plans to leave Adelaide, but this opportunity presented itself and it was an offer that the club and I decided was best for both parties,” said Goodwin, whose contract was due to expire at the end of 2024-25.

“I’m a South Australia boy, it’s a special place and it’s where I have so many memories, and experiences, and I have made so many lifelong friends from the pitch to the grandstands.

“It’s where I started my footballing journey, playing for this club and representing this state and its people has been a privilege.

“I will now have the chance to play alongside some of the best in the world and keep testing my ability, which is what drives me as a professional footballer.

“To my Adelaide United family – I will be watching and supporting the club as I always have. Thank you, and see you again.”

Goodwin has starred for club and country since returning to the Isuzu UTE A-League two years ago.

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He not only scored for the Socceroos as they reached the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup round of 16 in Qatar, but became Adelaide’s all-time leading goalscorer last season.

Goodwin won the Isuzu UTE A-League’s Johnny Warren Medal after scoring 15 goals and supplying 10 assists for Adelaide, who advanced to the Semi Finals in 2022-23, despite a lingering bout of osteitis pubis.

The 31-year-old became just the third player in A-League Men history to tally at least 10 goals and 10 assists in a season.

Across four spells with Adelaide, the 15-time Australia international has scored 53 league goals for the Reds and 60 across all competitions from 168 appearances having first joined in 2014.

“It goes without saying that this is a loss for us as we all know Craig’s quality and what he has
contributed to Adelaide United,” said Adelaide head coach Carl Veart.

“This is the reality of world football, but we will continue to prepare for the season ahead. Again, we say thanks to Craig for his services to the club and welcome him back any time.”

Goodwin – an A-Leagues and Australia Cup winner with Adelaide – is set to join a pair of Australians in Saudi Arabia.

Olyroos midfielder Jordan Harrison was signed by Slaven Bilic’s Al Fateh in the Saudi Pro League and he qualifies as a homegrown player having been born in Riyadh.

Former Western United star Connor Pain is also playing for Al-Orobah in the second tier.

Adelaide chair Ned Morris added: “Craig has made an extraordinary contribution to Adelaide United and we have hope that when he decides to return to Australia that Adelaide is his first choice.

“Our focus is now on ensuring the best possible performance for our fans as we continue our
preparations for the 2023-24 season.”