Western Sydney Wanderers marquee player Dario Vidošić on the privileges of playing all over the world. By Richard Cooke.


The Wanderer: Dario Vidošić,
28, soccer player

That Asian Champions League win, the Wanderers were up against clubs that have multi-multimillions of dollars. Probably over $100 million budgets, for some teams. We’ve seen now in China places like Guangzhou buying players for $35 million. And in the A-League the salary cap is $2.6 million. So the whole squad earns less than 10 per cent of one player. It’s just an amazing achievement.

We represent the West. We’re very proud of what we represent. Our fans are really supportive of us and we try to give back. It’s also a great area to live in and you feel like it’s very much a family-orientated club. It’s a pleasure to play in as well. The biggest thing, though, is we’re enjoying our football at the moment and, yeah, we’re ready for the business end of the season.

I speak a few different languages. I’ve been privileged enough to play many places around the world. I’ve been given that opportunity now, at 28 years old, to speak German, I can speak a little bit of French, I’ve got my Croatian background, and obviously English. 

Going away from such a young age you have to mature very quickly. You learn different cultures, you see the world, you play in great leagues. Now it’s just another chapter.

Everywhere they play, it’s a different style. A different brand of football. There’s different sorts of players that you come up against and you play with. So, definitely, you’ve learnt a lot and you develop as a person, and obviously in the culture you’re surrounded by that, that also moulds you in a way with the person you become and also the footballer you become. 

You just never know in football. One day you’re here, but something could happen with contracts and stuff like that. I wish to stay here for a very long time. But unfortunately you never can really tell the future. Football might end up taking me to another place where I can learn another culture or perhaps another language as well.

Everyone’s now looking to play a very stylish brand of football. High pressure – the tempo within a match is for 90 minutes, and it’s at a very, very high tempo. On a key possession, we want to pressure teams and make it difficult for them when they play us. 

It’s always been Barcelona. From when I was very young, I loved Barcelona. Even at the moment I really love how they play football. Messi, Neymar, Suárez, Iniesta. Obviously they’re the best players in the world, so you try to pick up things they do. You try to rehearse that also in training and perhaps use them in a game. 

I’ve been watching a lot of Neymar and how well, how easily he can go past his opponents, and how he creates a bit of space for himself. You’re always going to be very tightly marked. If you can get a few little things off them and maybe try to keep that in the back of your head when you play, it can hopefully only help.

The strangest thing I’ve seen on a football field? We were playing a promotion game in the Bundesliga, and there was probably a little bit too much showboating from one of our players. We were 5-0 up and about to get promoted, and he went and picked up the ball and sat on it. Sat on it, and stood up and then passed it. The other team was getting relegated, and that caused a little bit of a ruckus. The other players ran up and gave him an earful. I think he was lucky to escape unharmed.

In the German league, they’re very passionate. Everywhere you went it was sold out. Every week, every game, regardless of who played who, it was always a sellout. But if the results are not there, then they were also quick to… not to turn against you, but they’d sort of demand a very, very high level of results. They want to be successful, they want to be able to cheer and to sing and to do all that.

When you’re in that successful team the fans and everyone in the club is as one. But when the results are not coming then there’s the division and it becomes a bit harder. That’s the tough part.

My dad [Rado Vidošić] is one of the biggest influences on my career. It doesn’t matter what I do. It wouldn’t be enough just to thank him, with all the time he’s put into me, when he helped me and supported me. I’m very, very proud, and very lucky as well, that I’ve had a dad who could help me so much.


1 . This week’s highlights…

• AFL: Adelaide Crows v Port Adelaide

Saturday, 1.15pm (ACDT), Adelaide Oval

• Soccer: A-League: Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory

Saturday, 5.15pm (AEDT), Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand

• Netball: Sydney Swifts v Melbourne Vixens

Sunday, midday (AEST), Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre

Cricket: ICC World Twenty20 – Women’s final (Australia v TBD) 

Sunday, 7pm (AEST), Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India 

Men’s final (England v TBD)

Sunday, 11.30pm (AEST), Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India 

• NRL: Sydney Roosters v New Zealand Warriors

Sunday, 2pm (AEST), Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, NSW

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on April 2, 2016 as "The Wanderer".

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Richard Cooke is a contributing editor to The Monthly, and the 2018 Mumbrella Publish Award Columnist of the Year.

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