The best player from every country in club history! Part 2: M-U
We'll refer back to our little intro from Part 1:
Since the club’s inaugural season in 2010/11, players of 24 different nationalities have turned out for Melbourne Heart/City at the senior level, with 10 of these countries boasting multiple representees.
You'll notice in Part 2 that there are a lot more nations here with only one player to pick from, hence you're about to see some hilariously infamous and/or completely unfamiliar names, and it's all part of the fun.
Covering the conditions once more...
We’re going by each player’s listed nationality as opposed to heritages and/or other citizenships they may hold, with the only other condition being that players must have made at least one competitive senior appearance (A-League or FFA Cup) for the club.
All nationalities and stats as per Transfermarkt.
Malta – Manny Muscat (37 appearances, 1 goal)
We’re kicking Part 2 off with a MASSIVE bang right here. This matchup’s the Rene special.
Manny Muscat vs Michael Mifsud. The club’s Maltese Marvels going toe-to-toe.
…We’re going with the one who lasted more than six months…
Martinique – Harry Novillo (31 appearances, 11 goals)
The marginally lesser light of our iconic attacking trio in 2015/16, Novillo was nonetheless an entertainer to all – a fan favourite to this day – and had an impressive goalscoring output to match.
If opposition defences weren’t being terrorised by Fornaroli’s quick feet and lethal finishing in the box, they were being scorched by Novillo’s lightning manouvres in the wider areas.
Netherlands – Bart Schenkeveld (55 appearances, 1 goal)
The shortest shorts the league has ever seen.
Quite literally ‘six foot tall and full of muscle’, Bart’s incredible strength and speed made him just about unbeatable at the back. It’s almost a shame that he never received a straight red in his time at City… would’ve been f****** glorious.
Other notable Dutchmen: Gerald Sibon, Rutger Worm, Orlando Engelaar, Rob Wielart.
North Macedonia – Philip Petreski (1 appearance, 0 goals)
The tale of a promising talent who was continuously overlooked for senior selection, Petreski’s time at the club began all the way back in 2011, and included several standout National Youth League seasons. Including his representation of the club at the Youth and NPL levels, The Corner Flag noted that the fullback, before departing the club in 2017, was actually “the longest serving member of City’s squad across all competitions”.
Petreski made his one and only senior appearance in the 95th minute of an FFA cup match against Edgeworth Eagles in August, 2015; probably makes it onto this highly-coveted list by mere seconds.
Northern Ireland – Aaron Hughes (6 appearances, 1 goal)
The recently-retired Aaron Hughes was a stalwart of the Premier League before his arrival at City at the start of the 2015/16 season. Perhaps best known for his immaculate disciplinary despite playing in the heart of defence, Hughes never received a single red card throughout his 455 top-flight appearances. The only player to have played more games without a sending off is Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.
Having battled injuries throughout his time in Melbourne, Hughes took to the pitch just six times and departed the club at the end of the campaign.
Phillipines – Iain Ramsay (43 appearances, 3 goals)
Born in Perth, the Filipino-international (29 appearances for 4 goals on the national stage) came through Sydney FC’s youth ranks to end up at Adelaide, where he made 78 appearances before turning out for Melbourne City between 2013 and 2015.
The left-sided midfielder probably left his best form behind in Adelaide by the time he came to us, but was a serviceable contributor throughout his 43 appearances for City.
Poland – Marcin Budsinski (17 appearances, 5 goals)
He mightn’t have done much else as a marquee, but bloody hell this bloke could hit an absolute rocket when he wanted to. Cast your mind back to his late outside-the-box equaliser against the Mariners in 2017/18, or even further back to the October Derby of that same season.
Nick Fitzgerald’s picked up the ball just outside the right corner of the box deep into first-half stoppage time. He darts inwards, dancing and body feinting like a maniac, and slides a ball towards the byline past Victory’s Corey Brown. ‘Budders’ comes onto it at a seemingly impossible angle and belts the crap out of the thing, which ends up soaring past a flailing Lawrence Thomas at the near-post. It’s orgasmic to watch, really is.
Scotland – Ross McCormack (17 appearances, 14 goals)
Fornaroli’s injury-replacement in 2017/18, McCormack came to City to resurrect his Aston Villa career and restore his unfavourable reputation with Steve Bruce. The Scot was initially blasted by fans for carrying a fair bit of extra weight on him (ironic, given the controversy that plagued City in early 2018/19), and for his apparent laziness on the pitch.
Then he went and scored that first free-kick against Wellington and simply didn’t stop scoring after that. Fastest player to 13 goals in their debut A-League season.
Plus, the only other Scot we’ve ever had suffered a season-ending injury about five minutes after signing and went back home…
Singapore – Safuwan Baharudin (6 appearances, 2 goals)
Good bit of Melbourne City trivia, this one.
Currently playing in the Malaysian Super League, this Singaporean defender was apparently picked up on a three-month loan contract in the back half of the 2014/15 season after a City training camp in Abu Dhabi. Making just six appearances, Baharudin managed to rack up an eyebrow-raising four yellow cards and even got his name on the score sheet twice, but a spinal injury against Wellington Phoenix limited further opportunities, and the contract wasn’t renewed.
Slovenia – Robert Koren (26 appearances, 3 goals)
Ah, Robi… the benchmark for underwhelming City marquees for years to follow.
When he first signed in 2014, he was touted as the man to build a squad around, but spent most of his time in Melbourne on the treatment table. Even when he did get on the pitch, his performances were largely unexceptional, barring a hattrick against Newcastle on his first start for the club. He never found the back of the net after that. Iconic.
Spain – David Villa (4 appearances, 2 goals)
It was a landmark signing for the club which well and truly kicked off the City era. A legend at Valencia and of the Spanish national team, the deal was that Villa would play for the club between October and December.
He scored against Sydney on his debut and then… jetted off to NYCFC a few weeks later after only four appearances and two goals total.
Just so happens he’s the only Spaniard we’ve ever signed...
Uruguay – Bruno Fornaroli (73 appearances, 51 goals)
Yes, the whole situation’s over now; he’s gone to Perth and might even score a bag against us while he’s there; but the outrage and protest of fans last season really spoke to his importance to the fabric of the club.
‘El Tuna’ really was something special; he entertained City fans week in, week out with his passion, flair and creativity. In that 15/16 season with Mooy and Novillo, he was scoring goals for fun and making opposition defenders look stupid.
We can only hope that our new Uruguayan duo, Cabrera and Luna, are able to entertain us and show even some of the class that he did in his four seasons in Melbourne.
Keep an eye on Talking City’s socials over the next few days, with another podcast in the works and likely to come out this week as we ramp things up for the new season!