The stats behind Keisuke Honda's stellar career

Keisuke Honda has arrived in Australia to fanfare not seen since Alessandro Del Piero and company descended on the Hyundai A-League in 2012.

On Friday 17 August, he will run out on a training field for the first time as a Melbourne Victory player in the latest twist of a storied career which he almost chose to end prematurely.

The former AC Milan and CSKA Moscow man is rightly a legend of Japanse football, having in June become the first player in his national team's history to score at three different editions of the FIFA World Cup.

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That goal - Honda's fourth on football's biggest stage - was his 37th for Samurai Blue, moving the expert dead-ball exponent into equal fourth on the country's list of top scorers.

They aren't the only impressive figures on the 32-year-old's resume as we found out in assessing his career stats, beginning from his first foray into Europe in 2007.

VVV-VENLO

Honda linked up with Dutch outfit Venlo in January 2008 and, aged 21, contributed a handy two goals in 14 appearances despite the club's slide to second-bottom.

Relegation ultimately proved a blessing in disguise for the new signing as he took the second tier by storm, netting a career-best 16 goals in 36 matches to finish sixth on the Eerste Divisie's scoring charts.

Back in the Eredivisie the following campaign, 'Emperor Keisuke' backed up that breakthrough season with six goals and seven assists in 18 matches to win a mid-season move to CSKA Moscow.

Keisuke Honda Venlo
Honda left the Netherlands with 24 goals in 68 league games.

CSKA MOSCOW

Honda progressed to a consistent level of excellence throughout his four years in Russia.

His first, in 2010, saw CSKA improve from fifth to second, with Honda featuring in 28 of 30 matches and settling in quickly, scoring four times and setting up a further five along the way.

The next season was to be the midfielder's second-most prolific in Europe as he bagged eight goals to go with five assists.

His numbers reduced by one in each of those departments in 2012/13, but the left-footer's importance to CSKA's first title in seven years was evident in the incredible 61 chances he created - a superb average of 2.7 per game.

Honda added 18 more matches over six months of the following season before AC Milan came calling, rounding out his Russian Premier League experience after 94 appearances, 55 wins, 20 goals and 15 assists.

Keisuke Honda
Honda played over 7000 minutes of top-flight football in Russia.

AC MILAN

Handed the number 10 shirt after arriving on a free in January 2014, Honda scored two competitive goals and won half of his first 14 fixtures in Serie A.

He returned a revitalised figure after the 2014 FIFA World Cup and duly proved his class, providing an encouraging six league goals and four assists as one of few bright spots in a difficult mid-table campaign for the Rossoneri.

Honda played 30 more league matches the following season - his most in Italy - with 40 chances created and a better return of 13 victories.

However, another change of coach at San Siro led to a downturn in opportunities for the Japan ace, with a lone goal to show from his final season at Milan.

Keisuke Honda
Honda scored in each of his four seasons in Serie A.

PACHUCA

Honda, in his first season outside Europe in a decade, certainly made a mark in Mexico.

By now a vastly experienced attacking midfielder, Honda topped Pachuca's tally for both goals (10) and assists (seven).

He also won half of his 250 duels and created 56 chances in an emphatic return to form.

It was to be the Victory newcomer's only season in Liga MX, leaving with plenty of admirers as he set off for a successful FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Keisuke Honda
A fan favourite, Honda signed off from Mexico after 36 games in all competitions.

Honda gets to add another chapter to his story in the Hyundai A-League and, if the other stages of his journey are anything to go by, he's sure to turn heads and make an impression.

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