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Melbourne Victory have managed to secure the signing of Carl Valeri on a three-year contract, after the veteran decided to bring an end to his career in Italy. The Australian has always revealed that his ambition is to play in the Italian Serie A and he could only come close to achieving this dream. After 11 years in Italian football with several clubs, Valeri came close to playing in the Italian top division after being promoted with Sassuolo. However, just as they were promoted to the top division in the 2012-13 season, Valeri suffered a serious injury.
There are unable to guarantee him regular first-team football upon his return, which led to the midfielder joining Ternana later that January. He decided to drop down the division in order to get regular first-team football. Now, at 29, he has given up on the dream and has returned to Australian football with Melbourne Victory. As a teenager, he had joined Inter Milan but could not make it at the Serie A giant. Valeri has revealed that he has always admired the Australian A-League from the distance and he is looking forward to some great years in this league.
Despite having been born in Australia, Carl Valeri started his career with Inter Milan in 2002. He has represented the national team on 50 occasions since his debut in 2007.
“I’ve certainly watched and admired the A-League from afar. The league just keeps getting better and better each season and I’m really looking forward to being back home and playing in a competition that has such great potential. You just to have to look at all the quality young players over in Brazil with the Socceroos to see how far the game has come in this country,” Valeri said. Last season, the club finished in a disappointing fourth-place.
Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan is part of the Australian team that will be taking part in the World Cup 2014. This will be the 28-year-old’s third World Cup finals. This is an incredible achievement considering that he has had to play in different positions across the pitch. It is once again expected to be the case in Brazil, as there have been suggestions that Milligan could be used in both defence and midfield. Australian manager Ange Postecoglou will have a tough job on his hands together team out of the group stages. They are in the group containing Spain, Netherlands, and Chile.
All three teams are seen as having a great opportunity to reach the knockout stages, while Australia have been struggling in the warmup friendlies as well. The appointment of Ange Postecoglou just before the tournament does not appear to have improved the form going into the competition. Despite this, there is a lot of positivity from the likes of Milligan. He has revealed that he has worked extremely hard in order to make himself feel comfortable in the midfield. Milligan was expected to be part of the back four when the squad was announced, but injuries could force the manager to utilise the Melbourne Victory player in a midfield position.
”Whatever’s asked of me I’ll do, but if you do want my opinion, it’s not really something I’m interested in. It’s probably been the hardest thing for me to overcome when I was younger, being able to play those various positions, and it cost me at club level and international level. ‘I’ve worked extremely hard to become a midfielder and if I’m up for selection, I’m up for selection as a midfielder. It’s very tough. The boys that started and came on against South Africa did quite well, especially considering the conditions we had,” said the 28-year-old.
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Australian international Mark Milligan is a man in demand after he has been linked with several clubs overseas. However, there have been suggestions that he could end up staying at Melbourne Victory, who have offered the player a new contract. Contract negotiations have been going on with the club and Milligan has maintained that he does not want to move to a new club overseas. Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has said that Milligan will be made as one of the marquee names in the club should he signed a new contract. Archie Thompson is the domestic marquee player, but he will be replaced by Milligan should the captain sign the contract.
When congratulated about this new position, the 28-year-old failed to accept it and said that nothing has been confirmed yet. Milligan was speaking on the occasion of the farewell World Cup dinner for the Australian national team, who will be preparing to face the likes of Spain and Netherlands in the World Cup group stages. Making him the marquee name will allow Melbourne Victory to keep him at the club. This new position will entitle the player to receive a substantial increase in wages. Milligan, though, have revealed that he is not concerned about this new status and is only focused on playing his game.
“I don’t think it’s confirmed yet because there’s been nothing agreed as yet. Obviously there’s been discussions but that’s as far as it’s gone at the moment. (But) it doesn’t just have to do with the marquee status, it has to do with my time in Melbourne so far and where I want it to go as well. As I’ve said many times, my family’s happy there, it’s definitely something we’re sitting down and we’re considering at the moment,” said the 28-year-old during the dinner.
Melbourne Victory will be looking to sign a marquee name in the next few weeks of the transfer window after managing to get Archie Thompson under the salary cap after agreeing a new deal with him. The 35-year-old has signed for one more year, while the 28-year-old Adrian Leijer has signed for two more years.
Newcastle Jets have been showing a lot of interest in Thompson over the last few months. The forward is the leading goal scorer in the Australian A-League with 78 to his name. His experience would have been great for the club that finished outside the play-off places last season. Read the rest of this entry »
Melbourne Victory were unable to rectify their poor form after they suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Yokohama F. Marinos in the Asian Champions League. Melbourne Victory came into the match on the back of a poor run of form, which had seen them go without a win in the last two matches. The run has been extended to 3 matches after this narrow defeat, which has increased the pressure from manager Kevin Muscat. He was left struggling with explanations for the team’s poor performance.
As a result of this victory, they have slipped into the third place of the group stages. They definitely need to win the next two matches in order to have any chance of qualification to the latter stages of the competition. For now, they will be switching their attention back to the Australian A-League. An away trip to Newcastle Jets is the most important priority for Muscat now. Things looked extremely promising for Melbourne at the start of the match, as they took the lead after just seven minutes. However, a great player from Yokohama meant that they were trailing 3-1 with only a few minutes remaining.
The injury time goal from Jeggo helped give the scoreline a flattering look to the Asian team. Muscat said that there is an air of positivity despite this poor result.
“Personally I’m very disappointed in myself. For that second goal I should have made an easy catch which is disappointing. I’m not making excuses, it was a poor error from me, but I was proud of the boys in front of me, I thought they did really well to be fair. The first two goals were cheap goals to give away and playing against a team like that those things can’t happen, but overall I thought, with the young boys in there, we held our own,” said goalkeeper Thomas.
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As the Hyundai A-League season comes into the business end of the competition there have been some question as to whether the reigning champions Brisbane Roar can go all the way once again this season.
However that does not seem to be a concern for Australia defender Ivan Franjic, who is more than confident in his side’s abilities despite their recent wobble at the end of the regular season.
Without a victory in their last two matches, the factor of knowing they are guaranteed finals football appears to have been their undoing and perhaps some complacency has crept into the side over the last couple of fixtures. Read the rest of this entry »
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Melbourne Victory will be taking on Jeonbuk Motors in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday night. Ahead of this match, the Australian club’s defender Nick Ansell says that it is important that the club maintain discipline in order to get a good result. Jeonbuk Motors are one of the top teams in Korean football and they will provide a stern test for Melbourne Victory. Ansell says that the players should be extremely careful about picking bookings over the course of the match and they aim to do this by improving the overall discipline of the team.
Melbourne Victory had a hard lesson from the recent 4-2 defeat at the hands of Chinese outfit Guangzhou Evergrande. They managed to bring an end to 2 consecutive defeats after the 3-1 win over Central Coast during the weekend. This win helped them stay just one point behind Western Sydney Wanderers in the table. Ansell has been one of the consistent players for the club this campaign. He only recently turned 20 years of age. He also spoke about the need for three points given that this is the first home match of this Champions League campaign.
Melbourne Victory have a defensive crisis with a couple of defenders suspended. This puts the pressure on young Ansell, who is hoping to fill the boots of experienced players.
“Guangzhou was a good experience for us and definitely a lot different playing Asian teams compared to the A-League. Just the way they control the game, keep the ball and use their strikers and wingers on quick counter-attacks, their precision long balls. It’s a good competition and definitely a challenging one. The atmosphere was unbelievable and it was played at a high intensity, especially in the second half,” said Ansell.
A win will also help erase memories of the 4-0 thrashing against Melbourne Hearts.
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Melbourne Victory will be taking on Muangthong United in the Asian Champions League playoff at Geelong. Ahead of the match, Melbourne Victory have received a warning from Brisbane Roar Mike Mulvey, who has said that the Australian club needs to expect the worst from the Thai champions. Brisbane Roar have already faced a Thai outfit last season and they came out second best in all areas of the pitch. Even though Melbourne Victory will be heading into this contest as the clear favourites to win it, Mike Mulvey says that the contest is not as straightforward as people think.
Brisbane Roar were beaten by Buriram United in the qualifying stage last season. Buriram United went on to reach the quarter-finals of the competition. Mulvey has said that if Melbourne Victory are not at their best in this match, then there is a good chance that they could be overrun by the underdogs. The Australian outfit Melbourne Victory will be heading into the competition on the back of a poor run of form, which only recently came to an end following a 3-1 win over Central Coast. Prior to that, they lost two matches in successive 5-0 scores.
As a result, the club finds itself fourth in the table with just 27 points on board.
“You cannot underestimate these guys. These Thai clubs are usually backed by businesses or very wealthy individuals, and they can throw as much money as they need to at it. We got smashed for the fact that we lost to a ‘no-name’ team, but that was very disrespectful towards Thai football. They played very good football against us, Buriram. What people didn’t really appreciate was the quality of the opponent,” said Mulvey.
“One thing that will be fascinating to watch is whether Muangthong is going to play counter-attacking football or whether they’re going to come and pressure.
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Is there any chance, whatsoever, of the Socceroos progressing to the second round of the World Cup in Brazil next June?
On paper, even the most ardent Aussie soccer nationalist would probably have to say no. In a group featuring both the 2010 World Cup finalists and a South American team that many expert pundits see as something of a dark horse for the whole tournament in the shape of Chile – we would seem to have virtually zero chance of progressing. Read the rest of this entry »