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Mark Viduka was recognized by his peers as a legend of Australian football when he became only the fourth player to receive the Alex Tobin OAM Medal from Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) at The Palladium, Crown, in Melbourne on Monday evening.

 

The former Socceroos striker and captain, who in 2006 led Australia to the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time in 32 years, joins the late Johnny Warren, Joe Marston and Craig Johnston as the only recipients of the PFA’s most prestigious honour. He received his award before many of the greats of Australian football, including former Socceroos team mates Tobin, Craig Moore, Kevin Muscat, John Aloisi, Tony Vidmar, Stan Lazaridis, Craig Foster, Danny Tiatto and Steve Horvat.

 

PFA President Simon Colosimo said the players’ body was delighted to recognize Viduka’s contribution to Australian football. ‘Mark was a model professional and arguably the most technically advanced player Australia has produced. Developed by the Melbourne Knights and the Australian Institute of Sport, he won two Johnny Warren medals and an NSL championship before transferring overseas.’

 

‘In Europe, he enjoyed an outstanding playing career at the highest level, scoring 202 goals in 409 games in the English Premier League, Scotland and Croatia. He was a true leader among the Socceroos, and will always be remembered for his captaincy of Australia at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany’, Colosimo added.

 

Mark Viduka said he was honoured to be recognized by his peers for his lifelong contribution to the game. ‘It is special to be recognized by your peers. They're the ones who know the sacrifice and determination and what you need to get to that level. That’s why it’s special for me.’

 

Viduka (35) started his career at Melbourne Knights. In 1995 he left for Europe and signed at Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia. Four years later, Viduka transferred to Celtic, where he scored a personal best 25 goals in 28 league games in the 1999/2000 season. In 2000 he moved on to Leeds United, the English club where he was most successful. He also played for Middlesbrough and Newcastle United, before heading back to Australia in 2009.

 

 

 

PFA Alex Tobin OAM Medal
Alex Tobin was, until recently, Australia’s most capped player (87), and played a record 522 national league games.  A long serving PFA President (1998-2004), he is the only PFA servant to receive formal honours when given an Order of Australia Medal for his service to football as a player and through the PFA. 

 

The PFA Tobin Medal recognizes the true legends of Australian football who demonstrated 4 key attributes throughout their careers: (1) leadership; (2) achievement as a player; (3) commitment to one’s fellow professionals; and (4) service and dedication to the game.