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Popovic to leave Sydney for Crystal Palace coaching berth

Former Sydney FC and Australia defender Tony Popovic will quit the A-League club at the end of the season to become assistant coach with Championship side Crystal Palace. "Tony has been a loyal servant to both Crystal Palace and Sydney FC. He is highly regarded around the world and has been a great asset to our club," vice-chairman Scott Barlow said.

"Sydney FC has helped Tony to develop quickly. He is one of Australia's most talented up-and-coming coaches. This has been clearly recognised by Crystal Palace.

"We consider this as a fantastic next step for Tony and we wish him well in his further development. We are confident that he will benefit from the overseas experience so that we may one day welcome him back to Sydney FC.

"With Tony returning to Crystal Palace it strengthens our already good relationship with the club. They were very cooperative when we signed Nick Carle last year."

Popovic played 123 games for Crystal Palace between 2001 and 2006.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sydney FC as both a player and assistant coach. I have learnt a lot and working under Vitja for the past two years has been excellent for me. I will remember very fondly what we achieved in the A-League last season," Popovic said.

"This is a great opportunity for me. It will help me further enhance my skill set as I work hard towards becoming the best coach I can be."

Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka said Popovic was a true professional.

"Tony is a very good person, a true professional. He will have a long and successful future as a manager. It is sad for us but this is a great opportunity for him and I know he will do very well.

"We are very happy Tony is committed to stay with us and help us as we keep pushing to reach the A-League finals this season."

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Dave Williams

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