After finally confirming his Melbourne Victory exit, Japanese star Keisuke Honda has urged the next generation of Australian players to follow his lead and not get comfortable in their surroundings.
Honda, 32, joins club legend and coach Kevin Muscat and retiring captain Carl Valeri as one of three stars for the Victory faithful to send off on Wednesday night in their dead rubber Asian Champions League clash with Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
The departure of Muscat and the club's failure in Asia meant the negotiations with Honda to stay a second season were a non-starter.
Honda will seek a new club to continue playing with up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but ruled out a Japanese club.
"I would not go back to Japan for playing soccer. I don't want to you to misunderstand that. Japan is a very good country ... but I like challenging (myself with) new things," he said.
"Japan is too comfortable for me. I'm afraid if I stay in Japan, I don't challenge (myself) anymore. That's scary. That's why I'm abroad now."
Honda's ambition is one of the reasons Muscat signed the midfielder.
It's one of the reason he feels the multi-million dollar deal was a sound investment for the club, despite his lack of playing time.
Honda missed nine matches in the guts of the season with a major hamstring strain.
"(This season) we've played some of the best football, I think that the club has (ever) played," Muscat said.
"He has had a massive impact, a huge impact on the football club, on his peers, the younger players, and myself without doubt."
After spending countless hours in and after training sessions working with the club's emerging crop of players, Honda revealed some of the advice he would also give them.
"(To be a) soccer player is very simple, right? Train, eating and sleeping," he said.
"Very simple, but very difficult to manage.
"I always say to the young players here, 'No one can make your dream come true ... only you can make your dream come true.'
"Australia (is a) very good country like Japan and too comfortable to leave.
"Maybe (it's) not good environment for athletes to be hungry for success because it's not necessary to make them crazy effort.
"They have to decide themselves what they want to achieve."
Muscat confirmed Valeri and Honda would be playing in the match on Wednesday, with James Troisi proving his fitness for a likely role off the bench.
Australian Associated Press