Sydney FC have accepted a fee from Belgian club KVC Westerlo for influential Serbian defender Nikola Petkovic, after he sought a release for personal reasons.
The 29-year-old, who made 57 appearances for the club, had one-year left on his Sydney deal but will return to Europe to be closer to his family, including his young son who lives in Serbia.
"I have had a wonderful two years at Sydney FC," said Petkovic.
"I have many memories which I will always look back on with great pleasure and believe this club will go on to bigger and better things."
Petkovic missed just three games in two seasons. He was the club's player of the year in his first season and helped the Sky Blues to the grand final last season.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold paid tribute the former Red Star Belgrade defender and sympathised with his personal position.
"I understand how hard it can be to be so far away from your family, especially when you have young children," said Arnold.