Today has seen Japanese international receive a ‘Beatles-like’ welcome at Malpensa Airport after he finally touched down to being the next stage of his career with AC Milan.
When Honda moved to CSKA Moscow from VVV Venlo he did so when the Russian league ran until January. Since he has been in the Russian capital he has never signed a new deal, and the system has changed - with the Russian league now following the same timescale as the rest of the continent - therefore his contract expired in January.
This was in direct contrast to what was being reported in Italy, where a protracted deal with AC Milan had been finalised in the eyes of their media.
A couple of months ago reports in Japan claimed the Milan deal was done. The report claimed he had signed a £2.5 million a year deal to move to the San Siro and don the Rossoneri.
A month ago AC Milan unveiled the worst kept secret in football - as two months after it was said to have been done - they announced the news on their official website:
“Yes, now I can say it. Honda is officially a Milan player. He will wear the No 10 jersey.”
Today however he arrived at Milan and gushed about his future in Italy:
“I’m happy to be here and I’m very excited. I’m ready to play…I think I can give a lot, something more to the team. I’ve been waiting here for this for a long time. It’s a dream come true, AC Milan has always been a legendary club for me, I followed them as a child.”
So there was never any doubt that Honda was on his way to Milan - and my how they need him. Today saw their chief Massimiliano Allegri confirm he would leave the club at the end of the season - and also mention in passing that the Rossoneri are in a relegation dogfight.
They are currently just five points ahead of Sassuolo in the last Serie A relegation space after a woeful campaign so far.
Honda’s arrival already seems to have the fans already excited of a better 2014 - and they must hope he performs the wonders they need.
image: © olaszmelo