Mooy on the path to greatness
WHERE does Aaron Mooy rank among the best Australian players in the world game?
Mooy scored an incredible goal for Brighton in another sparkling performance in the EPL by the Socceroos star.
Plus, Duva reveals his A-League player, coach and match of the decade as well as his best Socceroos and Matildas performers of the past 10 years.
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1. SHADES OF BERGKAMP' IN MOOY
Aaron Mooy is knocking on the door of the top 10 Aussie players in the top tier of English football after another masterclass.
His man of the match performance in Brighton and Hove Albion's 2-0 win over Bournemouth was highlighted by a classy goal, evoking "shades of Dennis Bergkamp" according to Arsenal great Alan Smith.
The Socceroo scored the sealer in one stunning action, comprising of three sublime touches - deft chest cushioning, sharp directional control with the outside of his boot and a crisp finish - after picking the space and bursting into the box.
Most of Australia's greatest have featured in the Premier League or the old first division, including Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, Craig Johnston, Mark Bosnich, Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer, Joe Marston, Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton, Stan Lazaridis, John Aloisi, Paul Okon, Robbie Slater, Josip Skoko and Craig Moore.
Mooy, who's played 79 Premier League games, and teammate Mat Ryan have already joined that list and at ages 29 and 27 respectively, have time to work towards the top of that list.
2. BIG OFFERS COME FOR ANGE
Ange Postecoglou's has attracted offers from several overseas clubs after his stunning success in winning the J-League title with Yokohama F. Marinos.
Postecoglou has fielded lucrative offers from China, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the past month.
He was also approached by an English championship club in recent months, with his feats in Japan being noticed around the world.
Postecoglou is unlikely to be swayed, having just penned a contract extension with F. Marinos and galvanised by the challenge of repeating his swashbuckling 2019 success.
What's clear is that his Japan success is gaining more global credence than his Socceroos feats, headlined by the 2015 Asian Cup win.
It again underscores the challenges for Australian coaches who are out of sight and out of mind in world football.
3. YOUTH CAPTAIN SET TO RETURN
Australian football fans are eagerly awaiting the return of Young Socceroos captain Sebastian Pasquali.
Pasquali returned to training just over a month ago, after extended time away from Western United training to deal with personal issues.
I've followed Pasquali's journey closely, since he moved to Ajax Amsterdam after bursting onto scene with Melbourne Victory and he is an immense talent and a top kid.
We can ill-afford our best young talents to miss key chunks of their development years and 2020 may be a good time for Australian football to take stock, for it appears to be ill-equipped to handle myriad complexities related to youngsters who are moving interstate and overseas in their teens.
4. MUSCAT'S BELGIAN BREAK
Kevin Muscat's potential Belgium move is another breakthrough for Australian coaches in what's been a landmark year.
Postecoglou's Yokohama F.Marinos success paved the way for assistant Peter Cklamovski's move to fellow Japanese top tier side Shimizu S-Pulse.
Belgium is a hugely respected and under-utilised league which has usually brought joy to Australians.
Eddie Krncevic, Graham Arnold, Frank Farina, Aurelio Vidmar, Okon, Aloisi, Skoko, Archie Thompson, Ryan and Danny Vukovic have all had great success in Belgium, which should be discussed in the same breath as the Dutch league.
5. A-LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE DECADE
Thomas Broich. The Germany youth international was unplayable at times and, arriving at Brisbane Roar age 29, he still had plenty to offer. Finished with 17 goals in 166 games between 2010-17.
6. A-LEAGUE COACH OF THE DECADE
Postecoglou. It was right at the start of the decade, but his stunning Brisbane Roar success started in 2010, en route to transforming the A-League with the 2010-11 and 2011-12 titles.
Graham Arnold (two titles with Sydney FC and Central Coast) and Tony Popovic (stunning Western Sydney Wanderers debut, three grand finals and an Asian Champions League crown) are right up there.
7. A-LEAGUE MATCH OF THE DECADE
The 2010-11 grand final, when Brisbane Roar went 2-0 down in extra-time against Central Coast, before scoring twice in the last three minutes before winning on penalties, was the most dramatic grand final since Wollongong Wolves' 2000 National Soccer League comeback against Perth Glory.
The best A-League match I have witnessed live was the 2012-13 regular season clash between Melbourne Victory and the Wanderers.
Postecoglou's Victory up against Popovic's Wanderers in front of a raucous 21,640 at AAMI Park was the high watermark for the A-League.
The Wanderers won 2-1 in a ding dong battle on and off the field, with two sets of fans in full voice.
8. SOCCEROO OF THE DECADE
Tim Cahill. The Socceroos' record goalscorer starred at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, was immense in the 2015 Asian Cup win and pivotal in World Cup qualifying for 2014 and 2018. Like Cahill, Mile Jedinak was highly influential during the Postecoglou revolution. Bresciano, Mark Milligan, Mooy and Ryan get honourable mentions.
9. SOCCEROOS GAME OF THE DECADE
After 14 minutes of the Socceroos' 2014 World Cup opener, a Cuiaba car crash appeared to be unfolding as Chile led 2-0. Australia rallied and Cahill's 35th minute goal turned the tide completely, with Chile scrambling thereafter.
The Socceroos lost 2-1 but the bold, attacking approach made Australians proud and showed what was possible with the right approach and attitude on the grandest of stages.
On the podium was the Serbia win at the 2010 World Cup, with Brett Holman and Cahill having a field day to give the Socceroos a sniff reaching the Round of 16.
James Troisi's extra-time winner in the 2015 Asian Cup final was epic, after Son Heung-Min's equaliser.
10. MATILDA OF THE DECADE
Sam Kerr scored the first of her 38 international goals on May 21, 2010 in the Asian Cup win over South Korea and hasn't looked back, becoming Australia's highest profile female footballer. Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Lydia Williams and Steph Catleyare right up there too.
11. TEAM OF THE DECADE
Real Madrid. Just. Barcelona has been dominant in Spain winning six titles to Real's two, but Los Blancos' four UEFA Champions League crowns - including three of last four - to Barca's two is the difference for mine.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Raphael Varane, Pepe and Marcello were the backbone.