Time to spare a thought for Simunic
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It’s time to spare a thought for Australian born Croatian international Josip Simunic. Spurned by Australians, perhaps it’s time to reconsider his connection to our football.
Arguably one of the greatest games of the 2006 World Cup was Australia versus Croatia in the group stages, which was pure drama. We all remember a shocker of a game for referee Graham Poll (who gave three yellow cards to Simunic).
It was obvious to the casual observer that tensions were high and heated between the two teams.
Much of this was directed through Simunic, raised Australian but targeted by the Socceroos for having chosen Croatia as his national team of choice.
While definitely not as heated, the Socceroos versus Serbia fixture will still have a little bit of intensity thanks to the origins of our players from the Balkans.
Ironically, Simunic will most likely want to be supporting the Socceroos more than Serbia if international politics is anything to go by.
And of course, he’ll be reminded of the green and gold once more. Personally, I wonder what will be going through his mind as Australia battles away at the World Cup while he is left to play on in Hoffenheim.
Spare another thought for Simunic who was reported to have battled depression while playing for Hamburg, reported in close proximity to the depression related suicide of German goalkeeper Robert Enke.
The news broke in November, but was widely unreported. Was it not newsworthy enough or was it because he’s uninteresting to Australians?
And similarly, is there a connection between this depression and his relationship with the Socceroos and Australian public?
These are open ended questions that we may never have the answer to.
Despite opting to be a Croatian international, Simunic is still a great success story of how the Australian football system can get it right with raising footballers.
He was voted Best Defender of the Year for 2008-09 season in the Bundesliga, showing his immense talent as a defender.
And my personal view is that if the man wants to come back to Australia and live, he can contribute to Australian football again.
His knowledge and experience is vast, and he carries an international flavour which will differ to most of the returning Socceroos.
Simunic may not be over with his contribution to Australian football. So, Roar readers, should we rethink Josip Simunic and his connection to our football?
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