Dario Vidosic eager to put tumultuous two years behind him with fresh start at the Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix player Dario Vidosic after the unveiling of the club's new logo on Thursday morning.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES

Wellington Phoenix player Dario Vidosic after the unveiling of the club's new logo on Thursday morning.

As a lot of Australian footballers are finding out, all that glitters in Asian football is not necessarily gold.

​Much has been made of the money flowing through football teams in Asia, with players like Brazilians Hulk and Oscar grabbing the headlines for their big-money moves to Chinese clubs.

But the Wellington Phoenix's two new Australian signings, Dario Vidosic and Daniel Mullen, know all too well the wealth has not been distributed equally.

Dario Vidosic will join have his father, Rado Vidosic, as a coach at the Wellington Phoenix this season.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES

Dario Vidosic will join have his father, Rado Vidosic, as a coach at the Wellington Phoenix this season.

Take Vidosic for instance. He moved from Western Sydney to Chinese Super League club Liaoning Whowin in 2016 and was surprised to discover the team didn't even have a physio - just a doctor and a masseuse.

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"Thankfully, I didn't have any injuries there," Vidosic said. 

Daniel Mullen, second from right, and Dario Vidosic, second from left, know all too well the troubles which can come ...
ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

Daniel Mullen, second from right, and Dario Vidosic, second from left, know all too well the troubles which can come about when playing in Asia.

"It sometimes can be a scary place if you're unlucky with injuries, man management and being looked after."

Changes to the foreign player rules saw him let go in February. He immediately joined South Korean club Seongnam FC, but the situation quickly started to unravel.

"When I first arrived the coach wanted to play a style I wanted to play. Playing out from the back, always in possession, and I arrived a week before the season started and wasn't registered until week three.

"Results didn't go our way. We had 16 or 17 new players and pressure played a part on the coach where he reverted to a back five, only long balls and it wasn't very enjoyable."

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Compounding his problems was swelling on his right knee for about six weeks which the club assured him wasn't a problem. It was only after his contract was mutually terminated and he returned to Australia that a small lateral meniscus tear was discovered. 

It meant the termination of his contract was a blessing in disguise. He had arthroscopic surgery in Adelaide and was able to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, Niko, in July.

It was a cautionary tale and one which Mullen, a defender who played at Chinese second division club Dalian Aerbin between 2012 and 2014, also shared.

"In the countries like China where there is a lot of money, there is a lot of turnover," Mullen said.

"So a lot of players don't really have a choice. A player gets over there, a new coach comes in and they might see a player as not what they wanted or might want to bring in someone they know.

"It's different to here where we have a salary cap. If you're not playing over there it can be a tough time. A lot of Australians get caught up with that. They move for the good money and to set themselves up for the future, but a new coach and new people come in and it can change very quickly."

As for Vidosic, he feels he has found the perfect place to reignite his career. His father, Rado, is the assistant coach at the Phoenix, and together with head coach Darije Kalezic, Dario Vidosic thinks the club is headed in the right direction.

"We'll play a brand of football that I've been searching for and wanting to play. We want the ball at all times, we want to dictate play, we want to be the aggressor."

Vidosic said he was prepared to play anywhere on the pitch, listing right back, holding midfield, central midfield, attacking midfield, winger and striker as positions he had played at a high level in his professional career.

The biggest factor would be getting a proper pre-season under his belt, which he hasn't done since 2012 with Adelaide United. 

"[That year] was the best I've felt going into a season and was a very successful season of mine where I was top goalscorer and we had quite a successful season.

"Five years after that I've not had a pre-season, just coming in a week before and sometimes into round seven of a season and straight away playing, the body is always sort of catching up, you're always a little bit behind.

"So now I've got a good chance to get in the gym, on the training field, prepare the mind, body and soul to be all connected and very ready come round one."

 - Stuff

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