An emotional Tony Vidmar has lauded Australian football’s cultural blend after being named in the Socceroos’ “Team of the Century”.
To celebrate 100 years of the Socceroos, an honorary squad of 23 players has been named, with former Adelaide City, NAC Breda, Rangers, Middlesbrough, Cardiff City and Central Coast Mariners defender Vidmar among those selected.
Capped 76 times between 1991 and 2006, Vidmar was one of 16 players chosen via a fan vote, while seven more were picked by Football Australia’s panel of historians.
“I’m quite overawed,” said Vidmar, who is currently a Socceroos assistant coach.
“A lot of players have played for the Socceroos and to be in the Team of the Century is a huge honour.
“For me, playing for your country is the biggest thing … it’s definitely been a special moment.”
The son of a Slovenian father and an Italian mother, Vidmar praised Australian football’s ability to “integrate every culture and every race”.
“We have a lot of players from different backgrounds and situations; I’m one of those,” he said.
“My parents came out to this country 50, 60 years ago, so for me, that’s Australia. That’s how it is. How ever far back, it’s always been there.”
The “Team of the Century” includes a host of former Socceroos stars, including Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Craig Moore, John Aloisi, Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak, as well as two members of Australia’s current squad – goalkeeper Mat Ryan and midfielder Aaron Mooy.
Master Dutch mentor Guus Hiddink, who guided the Socceroos to the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup, was chosen as coach, with his assistants being current national team coach Graham Arnold, Ange Postecoglou and Rale Rasic.
Keepers: Mark Schwarzer, Mathew Ryan. Jimmy McNabb
Defenders: Scott Chipperfield, Joe Marston, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Alex Tobin, Tony Vidmar, and Peter Wilson.
Midfielders: Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton, Mile Jedinak, Harry Kewell, Aaron Mooy, and Johnny Warren
Attackers: John Aloisi, Tim Cahill, Reg Date, John Kosmina, Judy Masters, Alf Quill, and Mark Viduka.
Coach: Guus Hiddink. Assistant coaches: Graham Arnold, Ange Postecoglou, Rale Rasic.
Socceroos’ “Team of the Century”: John Aloisi, Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, Reg Date*, Brett Emerton, Mile Jedinak, Harry Kewell, John Kosmina*, Joe Marston*, Judy Masters*, Jimmy McNabb (Gk)*, Craig Moore, Aaron Mooy, Lucas Neill, Alf Quill*, Mathew Ryan (Gk), Mark Schwarzer (Gk), Alex Tobin, Tony Vidmar, Mark Viduka, Johnny Warren, Peter Wilson*.
*Denotes player selected by Football Australia’s panel of historians.