IT HAS been 10 years since the A-League kicked off in Australia, and down the years there have been a number of overseas stars who have graced grounds across the country.
Mark Janko, Damian Duff, Andy Keogh and Robert Koren are the high-profile marquee players from the class of 2015 and there have plenty more down the years such as Shane Smeltz, Emile Heskey and Robbie Fowler who have played their part in shaping the A-League into the competition that it is today.
In this anniversary year I thought I would take a look at the five best foreign players in A-League history.
5: Shinji Ono
After originally chasing former German international Michael Ballack, Western Sydney Wanderers did not find a bad replacement in influential midfielder Shinji Ono. The Japanese star helped the fledgling A-League club to two consecutive grand finals it its first two seasons and was a great ambassador off the pitch too.
4: Dwight Yorke
Yorke was the A-League's original superstar after a stellar career with Aston Villa and Manchester United. Yorke arrived as the competition's first marquee player with Sydney FC in its inaugural season. He was on target in the Sky Blues' first game against the Melbourne Victory and went on to score seven goals in 22 games for the club as it won the first grand final.
3: Alessandro Del Piero
The Italian was coming towards the end of an outstanding career when signed by Sydney FC at the age of 37. But despite that he managed to take the A-League to another level when he came to this country in 2012. His first season was sensational. He scored 14 goals in 24 games, including a trademark free-kick on his debut, the winner in the first ever Sydney derby and four goals out of seven in a thumping of Wellington Phoenix.
2: Besart Berisha
He might not be every fan's favourite, but there is no doubt the Albanian has been one of the biggest stars of the A-League and one of its best imports. He scored 21 goals to win the Golden Boot in his first season as the Brisbane Roar defended its championship in the 2011-12 campaign, and now the 29-year-old has moved to fourth on the A-League's goalscoring charts, having scored 48 times in 76 games for the Roar and Melbourne Victory.
1: Thomas Broich
He has only been in the A-League for four years, but in that time the German has become the star of the competition and without doubt its best import. Twice Broich has been voted the best player in the A-League by his peers, taking out the coveted Johnny Warren Medal. Broich has won the A-League title three times and is also a two-time premiership winner with the Roar. His exquisite passing has helped many a teammate score and he also has fired in the odd sublime goal in his time in Australia. It is no coincidence that his return from injury this season has seen the Roar improve and is now in a good position to challenge for a playoff berth after a miserable start to the campaign.
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