From scapegoat to shining light: Dario Vidosic’s journey from Wellington Phoenix to Melbourne City

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It's been a dramatic season off the pitch for Dario Vidosic, but he's been as classy as ever on it

Determined is perhaps the best way to describe Melbourne City’s Dario Vidosic.

Arriving at the club mid-season after departing Wellington Phoenix, the attacking midfielder has hit the ground running scoring five goals and assisting another in his 15 games to date.

Though technically very talented and with a refreshingly deep understanding of football, Vidosic’s greatest asset would have to be his sheer willingness to give everything for his team.

Strangely enough after starting the season on fire with Wellington scoring the side’s first goal of the season and being promoted to captain in Andrew Durante’s absence, the 31-year-old and his father Rado, who was there in a coaching capacity, were accused of going against the club.

“We were made out to be a scapegoat a little bit for the poor results,” Vidosic told Goal.

“They sort of said we were against the coach and all these sorts of things which I couldn’t believe when I heard because he had trusted me to captain the team two games before.

“Against the Roar I was man of the match so I gave everything that day. It was my first time wearing the captain’s armband so that was a huge honour for me to lead out a team and especially in Brisbane where I’m from. In Perth as well it was unfortunate I got a heavy knock, I kept trying to get up, I didn’t even want to get taken off.

Dario Vidosic Wellington Phoenx

“So it’s not something a player undermining the coach would do. I was risking my knee, I didn’t know what was wrong with it at the time, thankfully it was just a heavy, heavy knock but I think sometimes people forget to see those things.

“If I was a problem I wouldn’t have lasted very long at City. It was unfortunate and sometimes that’s the way it goes when results aren’t going your way.”

While the Phoenix only narrowly avoided the wooden spoon, Vidosic’s move to City now sees him playing in the finals with a semi against Newcastle Jets awaiting him on Friday night.

Despite only linking up with the club in January, the former Socceroo has clicked quickly with his new teammates and has been intent from the outset to vindicate City’s decision to recruit him.

“Coming in I really wanted to make a good first impression - that’s something I’ve always had a strong belief in wherever I’ve been or whatever I do,” Vidosic said.

“So I came in, trained really hard and I think the best way to earn people’s respect is on the football field first.

Dario Vidosic Melbourne City

“I have to thank everyone at the club, the coaching staff and the players, for making it really easy. It’s a phenomenal club, it’s got everything off the field to give you the best chance to be the best player on the field. Especially getting to an older you age you feel like you’re very well looked after and you can really extend your career.

“I’ve just really enjoyed it from the first day I walked through the doors and I’m just trying to repay the faith because they brought me in to help the club out midway through the season so I’m just trying to repay them for their belief.”

One thing Vidosic doesn’t have at City is his father Rado, with the City attacker noting just how close their footballing relationship has been over the years and its influence on his move to Wellington.

“First time (together) was in high school up in Brisbane so I was there five years with him,” he said.

“All the kids loved him so it makes it easy when he’s one of the cooler teachers. We really enjoyed working together.

“We’ve had that experience and that was a major reason I went to Wellington because we had an idea of a brand of football that we wanted to play and the coach wanted to also play that but unfortunately he went away from it and wanted to play very defensive.

“We went there wanting to achieve success and bring Wellington into the finals again and to play a really attractive brand of football which I think we did at the start of the season. We continued on our way, on our path and we’re enjoying ourselves.”

Dario Vidosic Rado Vidosic

After a two brief spells in Asia across 2016-17, where he had a memorable match-up against current Barcelona player Paulinho, Vidosic returned to Australia for knee surgery and very quickly became a father himself.

Having returned to Brisbane for proper diagnosis, the now 31-year-old was forced to make a quick dash from the operating table to an Adelaide hospital with his son, Niko, born within 48 hours of he himself going under the knife in 2017.

While driven to win his first piece of silverware in the A-League with City, becoming a father has inevitably shifted Vidosic’s focus somewhat - though football always remains in the back of his mind.

“At the end of the day when you come home and you see him and he has a massive smile on his face and walks towards you even if you’ve had a bad day at training or whatever may have happened, you forget about it straight away,” a clearly proud Dad said.

“I’ve always heard from teammates that are fathers that they can’t explain the feeling until you have it and now I understand it.

 

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“I don’t want him to grow up too quickly but I’m looking forward to when we can actually kick a ball together and bring him out at training and run him into the ground so he sleeps a bit better.”

And if Niko has half the determination of father, he will sleep very well indeed. 

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