The rumours are circulating that Mark Viduka will return to Australia to finish his career in the Hyundai A League in Melbourne where he started it, either with the Victory or the new Melbourne Heart; I for one hope that he decides against this, which will probably upset many.
Mark Viduka has never been given the credit by the general media in Australia for his wonderful ability that has lifted him above the pack in Europe. Instead they have fawned over Harry Kewell, something the unassuming modest Viduka probably doesn’t worry about in the slightest.
Even the FFA had the gall to name the best young player of the year award after the ‘golden boy’ Harry Kewell when Viduka’s name would have been far more appropriate. Viduka at least played his youth football in Australia and came through the ranks at the Melbourne Knights. What is more he even won the Young Player of the Year award in 93/94 and 94/95 in the old NSL before heading overseas. What makes these achievements even more special is he also won the overall player of the year awards in both seasons while still under 21.
Mark Viduka is unappreciated by so many as they judge his career on his time in the Socceroos shirt where he was frequently asked to play a very different role to the one that he played for his clubs. So many did not appreciate that fact and therefore never appreciated his versatility and willingness to do what was best for the team.
I would hate to see Mark Viduka come back to Australia and as we have seen this season with quality foreigners and Socceroos coming to play in the A league, his thought processes being quicker than his team mates, and him therefore not receiving the ball when or where he needs it. Those self same people who never appreciated his abilities will again criticise him, and his career does not deserve that.
If we had more educated football people in the media, they might appreciate this fact, but currently we do not. I for one would hate to see Viduka’s career tarnished in any way. He has been a star, a great ambassador for Australia and he does not deserve that.
We know his body is showing the effects of so many years in Europe. We have seen Stan Lazarides come back and his body was shot, his pace gone and he was a disappointment, the same applies to John Aloisi who really had a purple patch overseas with Coventry and Portsmouth, as after that struggled to hold down a regular place. These two players were never in Viduka’s class, and yet the ends of their careers have been disappointing.
So I say to Viduka, come back and be a TV pundit or coach if you wish, but let us live of the glorious memories you have given us over the years. There is no need for you to play back here.