Just another time the Socceroos missed out on potential, but also shines a light on mental health issues among sports-men and -women.
Much has been said about Ljubo Milicevic’s career in the past decade or so. Never short of sharing his two cents’ worth, his insights are a stark contrast to the media-trained athlete of the 21st century that shies away from voicing their own thoughts in pursuit of protecting a certain image.
While missing out on the World Cup squad in 2006 and perceived failures at club land might have some looking back in regret, Milicevic is keen to emphasise that he lived out his dreams by captaining his beloved Hajduk Split, representing his country, and playing in the Champions League against the cream of the crop.
“I definitely lived out my dreams as I got to play Champions League, I got to play for Hajduk Split in the derby against Dinamo, in the Europa League against Stoke, in the club’s 100th birthday friendly against Barcelona in front of a packed out Poljud.
“I played for Australia probably not as much as I imagined, but then at the same time I got to play against the likes of Argentina and Germany at the Confederations Cup in Germany in 2005. It is what it is and it is not disappointing – I don’t know about many other kids but they were pretty much all my dreams and they came true.
An irreverent player who bucked the stereotype of the 21st century footballer, he’ll be remembered as a cult figure to many for his no-holds-barred approach to voicing opinions on football and society.