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A-League Return Worries Viduka



MARK Viduka won’t be part of the Socceroos squad to play Qatar in a World Cup qualifier next month and his distinguished career as an international player could be over.

While national coach Pim Verbeek will leave the door open to the big striker when he names an extended 30-man squad for the final three qualifiers against Qatar in Doha on June 7, Bahrain in Sydney on June 10 and Japan in Melbourne on June 17, it appears unlikely he will take up the offer.

It is believed Viduka, who is considering his options after Newcastle United was relegated from the English Premier League to The Championship, is not keen to be involved in the Qatar match.

And his international and club future beyond that remains up in the air.

An insider said yesterday he wasn’t sure whether Viduka wants to play at all next year.

“He has issues with his weight and I don’t know whether he has the burning desire any more,” he said.

That news comes on top of a suggestion Viduka won’t finish his career in the A-League after he confided he is wary of putting himself through the same pain and drama that engulfed John Aloisi last season.

Viduka admitted recently to Perth Glory coach David Mitchell that he had watched with disappointment the developments which saw Aloisi jeered, abused and berated by fans and criticised by the media after failing to produce the goals expected of him in his first season with Sydney FC.

A $2.8million marquee signing, the former Socceroo striker struggled with injury and form and managed just two goals in 16 matches as Sydney missed out on the finals.

A shattered and devastated Aloisi was eventually relegated to the bench amid calls for Sydney to cancel his contract.

Mitchell spoke to Viduka in Newcastle last month and said the striker had mentioned what had happened to his World Cup teammate.

“I think Mark figures he would be on a hiding to nothing if he comes back,” Mitchell said yesterday.

He said he would not be surprised if Viduka stayed with Newcastle to try to help it get back to the Premier League.

“I know a few of the coaches there and they have a huge regard for Mark … they believe he has been one of the best players to come to the club,” Mitchell said.

“I don’t think he’ll come back to Australia to play.”

Mitchell said Perth would not be in the market to sign him, given it is close to securing a marquee deal with a Belgian international.

Gold Coast United (Jason Culina), North Queensland (Robbie Fowler), Sydney FC (Aloisi), Newcastle Jets (Joel Griffiths), Melbourne Victory (Archie Thompson) and Brisbane Roar (Craig Moore) are already committed with marquee signings.

Adelaide United is without a marquee player. But coach Aurelio Vidmar does not believe Viduka, 34 in October, is ready to return home to play.

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Real Football

Published on May 27, 2009




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