|By MICHAEL HUGUENIN
Marquee man Shinji Ono has extended his stay with A-League leaders the Western Sydney Wanderers for another 12 months.
The Japanese midfielder's signing comes at a flourishing time for Tony Popovic's men - they are on a 10-match winning streak heading into their derby with Sydney FC on Saturday.
The 33-year-old - reportedly a target for rival A-League clubs and teams further afield in Asia - said it was an easy decision to stick with the foundation club, as they pursue what would be a history-making championship in their inaugural season.
"I love this club and I want to play more football with them so we can achieve more beyond this season," Ono said.
"I have told anybody who asks me about the club that it is like a big family.
"Of course I mean the players and the coaching staff but I also mean everyone who works in the club - they are like family to me."
Popovic hailed Ono's decision to stay, with the former Feyenoord star's seven goals trails only Mark Bridge [nine] at the club.
"We see his talent every week with his creativity and his skills," Popovic said.
"Shinji is an integral part of our team building next year and we are very happy that he has re-signed with us."
Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman echoed Popovic's delight at securing Ono's services for the 2013-14 campaign.
"Shinji is not only a great player, he is a true gentleman and it is an honour to have him with us for what will be another fantastic season for this club," Gorman said.
"His class and skill are there for all to see on the pitch and he has mesmerized defences and thrilled supporters in many memorable games this season.
"Off the pitch Shinji is a fantastic ambassador for this football club and the humility and respect he shows everybody is a great example to other elite sportsmen.
"Shinji has been a major contributor to our community engagement program and has worked countless hours with the people of Western Sydney in schools and sporting clubs to help spread the word of the Wanderers and we look forward to having him on board for much more of the same."