Safuwan signing for Melbourne City: Here are 5 other footballers who plied their trade outside Asia

Singapore defender Safuwan Baharudin in action for new club, A-League side Melbourne City FC. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF MELBOURNE CITY FC
Singapore defender Safuwan Baharudin in action for new club, A-League side Melbourne City FC. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF MELBOURNE CITY FC

Singapore footballer Safuwan Baharudin is among a rare breed of Lions who have signed professional contracts with clubs outside Asia.

The 23-year-old, who has signed for Australian side Melbourne City for the remainder of the A-League season, is the first Singaporean to play in Australia's top flight, which boasts the likes of former Chelsea winger Damien Duff and had other star names like Spain striker David Villa.

Watch the video of his first interview with his club here

Fandi Ahmad 

AL football1 2001

Arguably the most talented footballer Singapore has ever produced, Fandi Ahmad was much sought after as a teenager, impressing the likes of Dutch giants Ajax and Argentinian club Boca Juniors.

Johan Cruyff, then coach of Ajax, even offered him a three-year contract. But, citing homesickness, Fandi turned down the Dutch giants, and signed for Indonesian side Niac Mitra.

He eventually made his foray into Europe in 1983, when he signed a two-year contract with Dutch first division team Groningen.

Fandi scored 11 goals in 36 appearances, but he is best remembered for this effort against Inter Milan in the Uefa Cup.

He left Groningen in 1985 after the club chose not to renew his contract.

Fandi has maintained a good relationship with the club, and, in 1999, he was voted by FC Groningen fans as one of the club’s top 25 players in the 20th century.

In 2010, Fandi made an emotional return to Groningen, where he played a friendly match against the club's supporters.

Now 52, he is coach of the Lions XII, who play in the Malaysian Super League.

V. Sundramoorthy 

AL football2 2901

Known for his flair, creativity, and dribbling ability, V. Sundramoorthy signed for Swiss FC Basel in 1988 after impressing for the Singapore Malaysia Cup team.

The Dazzler's stint at Basel, however, was far from dazzling. He left to join Malaysian side Kedah after a year, winning the Malaysia Cup with them in 1990.

Now 49, he is coach of S-League club Tampines Rovers.

Abdullah Noor 

AL football3 2901

Became the first Singaporean to play professional football in Australia when he signed for Sunshine George Cross Soccer Club, a top team in the Victorian Premier League, in 1995.

Then 33, the former striker-turned-attacking midfielder scored 12 goals for the club, helping them clinch a best-ever third placing  in the Victorian Premier League.

He joined Balestier after his solitary season Down Under.

Abdullah, 53, the former coach of the Singapore Sports School team, is now coaching at an international school in Indonesia.

Bryan Neubronner 

AL football4 2901

Neubronner, 19, was a member of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games football team who captured the hearts of Singaporeans when they clinched a bronze medal.

The winger signed a professional contract with German club SSV Ulm 1846 in 2013, after making six appearances and scoring once for the club's Under-19 side.

The club are currently playing in the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg, which is the fifth tier of German football.

Neubronner will turn 20 on Feb 27. He is currently still with Ulm.

Daniel Bennett 

AL football5 2901

Bennett enjoyed two stints in (2001-2002, 2002-2003) at Welsh club Wrexham, where he established himself as a key member of the starting XI.

In his first stint, the composed and strong defender made six league appearances for Wrexham, who were then in the English Second Division.

A knee injury, coupled with the club's relegation, scuppered his chances of securing a new contract.

He returned for the new season, and helped the club win the Football Association of Wales Premier Cup and clinch promotion to the Second Division.

Bennett turned 37 on Jan 7. He is currently playing for Warriors FC, whom he captained to the S-League title last year.