SPORTS

AEK lands Australian

AEK completed the signing of young Australian soccer star Nathan Burns from Adelaide United yesterday. The Athens club announced that the Socceroo international has signed a four-year contract. Burns, a 20-year-old striker, was in Athens yesterday afternoon and, after putting pen to paper, made his first statements as an AEK player. «AEK is a major opportunity for me to play in Europe,» he said. «I have always wanted that break and I am lucky a big club such as AEK has chosen me, as it is a team going for the league title every year, playing good and beautiful football. «My first impressions of the club are excellent as it is very well organized. From its footballers, I know the world-class star Rivaldo; it is a huge honor and challenge for me that I will play in the same team with such a big player. I have also met my new manager. As I was told, he believes in young players and helps them with his work. I therefore feel this is a very important step in my career,» said Burns. Earlier, the Australian club announced on its website that it had reached a deal with AEK for the player’s transfer. «The club has agreed to release Nathan to AEK Athens. We respect and support Nathan’s desire to compete in a European league,» the club’s CEO Sam Ciccarello told the Adelaide United website. Burns has represented his country at youth and senior level and has been likened to Harry Kewell. He made his Socceroos debut against Singapore in June 2007, when he came on as a second-half substitute for Mark Viduka in a lead-up game to the Asian Cup. Burns, the first ever player from Adelaide United to score a hat trick, had a tryout with Norway’s FC Brann earlier this year. AEK is also chasing Argentinean striker Ignacio Scocco from the Mexican club Pumas. Separately, new Olympia-kos manager Ernesto Val-verde arrived yesterday in Athens from Spain and will be officially presented by the owner of the club, Socratis Kokkalis, this afternoon.