Goal Australia reveals which players most impressed our match reporters during the 2013-14 regular season. In at no.5 is Melbourne Victory's comeback kid Guilherme Finkler
Club: Melbourne Victory
Appearances: 29 (14)
What we think:
'Gui' polled an impressive 20 votes from our match reporters despite not making his first start until January 4. The Brazilian has been nursed carefully back to full fitness after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a match away to the Western Sydney Wanderers in December 2012. Such has been the success of that rehabilitation, he is, along with James Troisi, one of only two Victory players to have been involved in all 29 of their domestic matches, including two finals.
If any absent-minded members of the Victory faithful had forgotten about Finkler's importance to the team, they were reminded by his brilliant late free-kick to equalise at home to the Wanderers and snatch a point in a 1-1 draw in December.
Unfortunate to be the overseas player left out of Victory's AFC Champions League squad, Finkler became more and more important late in the domestic campaign due to the demands of playing on two fronts and Tom Rogic's nagging groin problem.
Finkler's intelligent movement and incisive use of the ball were instrumental in Victory's strong finish to the domestic campaign, and helped to get the most out of the likes of James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses.
Out of contract at the end of the season, Victory are unable to make Finkler their international marquee, having already bestowed that status on the incoming Besart Berisha for the 2014-15 campaign. It appears the club are very keen to keep their samba star, but will another side be willing to pay more for one of the competition's most talented creative forces?
Last-minute specialist | Finkler grabs a point against the Wanderers
What they said:
Victory coach Kevin Muscat: "Gui's a good person. From our perspective it's not just about signing footballers. You've got to be able to be a good person. Gui fits into the mould of the type of player this football club wants to keep. We're trying every so hard to do that. And hopefully we'll have some good news when we get some time to actually sit down and go through it properly. His focus is clearly on what he needs to do (on the field)."
Did you know?
Counting loan spells, Finkler had been on the books of 12 different clubs, including Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2006-07, before arriving at Victory. His 40 appearances for the Big V are the most of any team in his career, and surely that means the attacking midfielder has found his rightful place in navy blue and white.