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Ninkovic signs new Sydney FC marquee deal

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/05/2017 Emma Kemp

Sydney FC's title defence has already received a big boost with the retention of Johnny Warren Medallist Milos Ninkovic, but the club will bid farewell to US-bound winger Bernie Ibini.

Ninkovic was nominated as an A-League marquee player after Sydney FC rewarded their star player with a one-year contract extension outside the salary cap.

Two days after sealing their premiership-championship double, Sydney confirmed the architect behind their astonishing season will see out a third season in sky blue, replacing Filip Holosko as a marquee for 2017-18.

The considerable pay rise is fitting reward for the 32-year-old Serbian, whose stellar second season saw him named as the competition's best player.

"Milos has proven to be a class above this season and his understanding with the rest of our strike force will only continue to flourish," coach Graham Arnold said.

"It is a huge tribute to Sydney FC, our staff and the culture we have at the club, that after such a fabulous season, he has agreed to come back for another year."

Ninkovic, who scored the title-winning penalty in Sunday's grand final against Melbourne Victory, will head home to Serbia this week before returning to Sydney for pre-season training in July.

"I love this club, this city, my teammates and our wonderful members," Ninkovic said.

"This season has been the most special of my career and long may it continue.

"We have a fantastic squad and we want to stay together and continue to create history."

Arnold expected no more than three or four changes to his squad that defeated Melbourne Victory on penalties in Sunday's decider.

He'll need a replacement for regular substitute Ibini who, after two stints with the club, is set to willingly sign with MLS outfit Vancouver Whitecaps.

Sydney have agreed to release on-loan Ibini to his Belgian parent side Club Brugge, who are poised to receive a transfer fee pending a medical before the MLS window shuts at the end of Monday US time.

The timing of the medical is unclear, given it's understood the hamstring injury that sidelined the 24-year-old for the grand final is more serious than it first appeared and will need up to 10 weeks' rest.

The Sky Blues' medical staff have been integral to Ibini's unlikely recovery from a badly broken leg and ligament damage, suffered during his first pre-season with Brugge in 2015.

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