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Mark Viduka

Mark Viduka
Complete Name: Mark Anthony Viduka
Nationality: Australian
Place of Birth: Melbourne, Australia
Date of Birth: 09/01/1975
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 86 kg
National Team: Australia
Current Club: Middlesbrough FC (England)
Position: Forward


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Club career history

Melbourne Knights (Australia), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Celtic Glasgow (Scotland), Leeds United FC (England), Middlesbrough FC (England)




Mark Viduka (born October 9, 1975 in Melbourne) is an Australian football (soccer) striker of Croatian and Ukrainian descent. He currently plays for Middlesbrough in the English Premier League, and has also played for Croatia Zagreb, Celtic and Leeds.

Viduka started his career in Australia with Melbourne Croatia (Knights) in 1994, and he also became an Australian international the same year. In 1995 he moved to Croatia to play with Croatia Zagreb, where he stayed for three years and made an appearance in the UEFA Cup.

Celtic bought him in December 1998 for 3.5 million. He was voted Scottish Premier League Player of the Year after scoring 27 goals in his first full season at Celtic Park. He was regarded as a skilled player, able to hold the ball up well and bring other players into the game.

However, Viduka's often lackadaisical attitude infuriated supporters, and a widely-reported quote where he announced that he was "playing to only about 70 per cent of my capacity up here [Scotland]" did not endear him to either the fans or his fellow team-mates. Moreover, he exhibited a tendency to play anonymously in big games, and scored only one goal in his six Old Firm derbies.

The Leeds United manager David O'Leary swooped for Viduka just before the 2000/2001 season after tracking the big Aussie striker for some time. Leeds paid Celtic 6 million. It had been apparent for some time that Viduka wanted to leave the club -- he ended the 1999/2000 SPL season by failing to score any goals in his final seven appearances of the campaign. Celtic's newly-installed manager, Martin O'Neill, immediately sold him to the Yorkshire club and spent the fee on Chris Sutton.

At Leeds he was expected to line up in a three-pronged attack alongside fellow Aussie Harry Kewell and Michael Bridges, but injuries to those two saw him form a partnership with Alan Smith in Leeds UEFA Champions League matches, while Robbie Keane also benefited in their Premiership matches together. In his first Elland Road season, Viduka scored 22 goals, including all four in a memorable 4-3 win over Liverpool at Elland Road. He signed a new five-year deal in the summer of 2001.

In the 2002/03 campaign Viduka scored another 22 goals, forming a good partnership with Smith and feeding off a rich supply line provided by Kewell.

However, Leeds' off-pitch financial troubles prompted the club to sell key players, including Kewell (sold to Liverpool) and Keane (sold to Spurs). This prompted speculation that Viduka would join the Leeds exodus with Barcelona (Spanish Primera Liga) confirming their interest in the Australian international along with Premiership clubs Liverpool and Manchester United.

With the relegation of Leeds United to the Football League Championship, the sale of Viduka's contract during the summer of 2004 became all but inevitable. On 8 July, Viduka's transfer to Middlesbrough was completed.

Viduka's debut season at Boro was initially impressive but then tarnished by injuries and he will be hoping that he makes more regular appearances in 2005/2006, although the club has augmented its striking options by signing Aiyegbeni Yakubu from Portsmouth.

He has captained the Australian national team since September 2005, in place of the injured Craig Moore, the regular captain. Since the arrival of Guus Hiddink as coach of the national squad, Viduka has thrived and grown as a leader of the team, as may be expected at the relatively mature age of thirty. He recently succeeded in captaining Australia to the 2006 World Cup in Germany over a two-leg qualifier against Uruguay, the first time in 32 years that Australia will be at the event.

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