FORMER FAVOURITE RETURNS Perth Glory Football Club is delighted to announce the return of vastly-experienced central defender Ljubo Milicevic.
FORMER FAVOURITE RETURNS
Perth Glory Football Club is delighted to announce the return of vastly-experienced central defender Ljubo Milicevic.
Originally signed by the club back in 1999, Milicevic played a key role as Glory reached its first ever NSL Grand Final and chalked up nearly 30 appearances before leaving to join Swiss side FC Zurich in 2001.
The powerfully-built Melburnian was a team-mate of several of the current Glory coaching staff during that first spell at the club, namely Alistair Edwards, Gareth Naven and Scott Miller. And Head Coach Edwards believes that securing the 32-year-old's signature on a season-long contract is a genuine coup.
"Ljubo made contact about ten days ago," he said, "and obviously that triggered our interest as he's a quality player and a former champion player of the club. "I discussed it with Gareth and Scot and we were all unanimous in saying that it would be great to have him back here. "I believe it's a good fit for Ljubo and a good fit for the club."
Milicevic eventually spent a total of seven successful years in Swiss football, gaining a wealth of experience with FC Basel, FC Thun and Young Boys before returning to Australia where he initially joined Melbourne Victory and then spent a further three seasons with Newcastle Jets. His departure from the Jets in 2011 was followed by brief spells at South Melbourne and Croatian giants Hajduk Split and earlier this year, he re-signed for his first club, Melbourne Knights. In terms of international honours, meanwhile, Milicevic skippered both the Young Socceroos and Olyroos and won the first of his eight senior international caps against Indonesia at Subiaco Oval back in March, 2005.
"He is an exceptionally gifted player," said Edwards. "When he was here as a 19-year-old, Gareth was captain of the club and Scott and I were vice-captains so he knows us well and we know him well. "We were in the twilight of our careers then and we helped him a lot in terms of his development. "I've had many discussions with him regarding the way we do things around here and we focused on how, when he came to the club as a young man, the culture that we had here at Glory at that time really helped his development. "We've now re-created that same environment, but this time he's an experienced player not a 19-year-old. "He's the Gareth Naven or Scott Miller of yesteryear and he has the responsibility not only to fit into the culture, but to remember that when he was at the same age as many of our current young players, how that culture helped him develop."
Off the field, Milicevic's outspoken views have often made him a figure of controversy, but Edwards is confident that Glory's new defensive recruit will let his football do the talking in the coming months.
"He's had his issues down through the years," he said, "but although we're mindful of those issues, we're not going to dwell on the past. "We're a forward-thinking club and we are looking at the many positives that he's going to bring to our culture. "We want him to just concentrate on playing football and assisting us in moving the club forward with all the experience that he can bring. "The fans of Perth Glory should be excited again because he's a very experienced player who is going to improve us as a club going forward."