This is it. The final five.
Over the past ten years, some truly incredible players have taken to the pitch with the Heart or City crests on their shirt; players that we as fans have fallen in love with even long after their departure.
After giving consideration to the raw talent, overall contributions, fan-favour and excitement-value of some of the biggest names in club history – men’s or women’s – here is Talking City’s Top 20 Players of the Decade.
1. Only players who spent more than one season with the club were considered.
2. A-League stats as per Ultimate A-League.
3. W-League stats as per "WLeagueStats.com" (aleaguestats.com/WLeague).
5 | Bart Schenkeveld (55 appearances, 1 goal)
There surely can’t be many more universally-adored players than Bart Schenkeveld.
The owner of seemingly the shortest pair of shorts the league has ever seen, Bart, quite simply, was a beast.
The Dutchman’s incredible strength and speed made him invincible; a truly unbeatable centre-back who is perhaps in the conversation as the league’s best-ever defender.
It felt wrong to have named Patrick Kisnorbo outside of the top five players of the decade, but Schenkeveld – for lengthy stretches of his time at City – was arguably the most dominant a player has ever been in this club’s history.
We surely also have to give a special mention to the only goal he scored at City, the at-the-death winner in a 4-3 thriller against the Wanderers last season.
4 | Steph Catley (62 appearances, 3 goals)
When you consider that she’s captained our City girls to three W-League Championships in the past four seasons, in addition to also playing a prominent role in the first title in 2015/16, Steph Catley probably has a fair old case to be crowned number one, at least by some people’s measure of ‘greatness’.
In any case, Catley has grown to become a legend of the W-League and a true national treasure with the Matildas. We reservedly concede that she also makes decent TikToks with Lydia Williams.
The fullback is a professional to the very definition of the word and beyond, truly embodying the evolution of women’s football over the past decade.
At the remarkably young age of just 26, Catley is set to dominate women’s football at the international level, as well as whichever domestic leagues she plays in over the next few years.
Whilst City fans may have seen the last of her with the ongoing rumours of an impending move to England, we can only appreciate what she’s done for the club over the years and support her in future endeavours.
3 | Bruno Fornaroli (70 appearances, 48 goals)
What feels really special about remembering Fornaroli as a Melbourne City player is the fact that he was a relative unknown when we signed him from Uruguayan first-division side Danubio FC back in 2015.
Fans really weren’t sure what to expect from the South American back then, but once he started scoring… he never stopped.
Always the entertainer, Fornaroli went on to score some of the most unforgettable goals in the club’s history, with his name also inseparable from some of its greatest moments.
‘El Tuna’ really was something special. Week in, week out he electrified AAMI Park and entertained all those who attended with his passion, flair and creativity.
With service from Mooy and Novillo, he was scoring goals for fun and making opposition defenders look stupid.
Though his departure from the club was a difficult pill to swallow (especially depending on whichever story you choose to believe), Fornaroli must invariably go down as one of the greatest players in Melbourne City history.
2 | Aaron Mooy (53 appearances, 18 goals)
It seems almost unnecessary to even attempt to describe the brilliance of Aaron Mooy and the lasting legacy he’s left on the club; his influence and legend are already well-appreciated by fans unanimously.
Always the first name thrown into the mix when ‘greatest-ever’ conversations come about, The Pasty Pirlo really was a magician; just go take a look at his long ball for Stefan Mauk to equalise 2-2 in the Melbourne Derby of October 2015.
Never quite a particularly flashy player, Mooy instead exploited his own uncanny ability to see every possible pocket of space for his teammates around him, making fans feel as if he could slow down time at his own will.
Greater than his actual on-field contributions at the tangible level are the intangible memories that he’s left City fans with for years to come, combining with Bruno Fornaroli and Harry Novillo to provide the most exciting season in club – and A-League – history, with the latter statement supported by John Greco writing for the official Hyundai A-League website:
“Quite simply, City’s attacking force has been almost unstoppable on their way to probably the most prolific season for a club in Hyundai A-League history.”
“If you get a chance, see them live. They'll take your breath away.”
Aaron left a lasting legacy at City, and we’d argue that we’ve never quite found the right substitute to his creative capabilities in the seasons following his departure, and it may be a very long time before we do.
1 | Jess Fishlock (38 appearances, 17 goals)
With that sort of pump-up for Aaron Mooy, it was always going to take a truly remarkable player to beat him for the crown of the greatest City player of the decade, and Jess Fishlock is all that and more.
One of the world’s elite female players at the peak of her powers (the fact that she spent 2018-19 with Olympique Lyon proves that), Fishlock was the superstar in a team of superstars from 2015/16 to 2017/18, guiding our City girls to an unprecedented three consecutive W-League Championships – the club’s first-ever pieces of senior silverware.
Invariably dubbed ‘the GOATlock’ whenever discussed on the Talking City podcast, the mesmorising attacking midfielder was an absolute deadeye in front of goal and capable of some of the most acrobatic finishes you’re likely to see for someone who stands at just over 5’1”.
Incredible close-control, killer final-third passing and a generally exhilarating playing style, Jess Fishlock is an athlete who you simply cannot take your eyes off.
Was Jess Fishlock the deserved #1 in your eyes? Who would you have given the title of the club’s greatest player of the decade to? Let us know in the comments sections on Facebook and Twitter.