Lucas Neill's decision to sign with Emirati champions Al Jazira was part of a long-term plan to lead Australia at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to reports.
The Socceroos skipper, 33, said the prospect of guiding the national team to their third consecutive World Cup finals was a major consideration in his move to the United Arab Emirates.
"I have a three-year plan and, all going well, possibly a year bonus in international football," Neill told the Sun-Herald.
"In order to play out that plan I needed to pick an offer that was good for my family, good for my body while also competitive so that I could give my best for Australia in the coming years as captain.
"So we can qualify for the World Cup and so that I can lead (the Socceroos) in 2014."
The former Blackburn Rovers and West Ham defender, who joined Al Jazira after his contract at Turkish club Galatasaray expired, said he was uncertain how some Australians would react to his decision to play in the Middle East.
"All I can ask is that they judge me on my performance when I play. I've ticked all the boxes for experience in Europe, playing in the Premier League and on the World Cup stage," he said.
"Now, for me, it is about getting the most out of myself, for my club and my country."
Source: AFP Global Edition