Milos Ninkovic is recognised as being one of the best ever imports to grace the A-League.
The midfielder arrived in the Harbour City In 2015 at 30 years of age and has won the game’s biggest trophies as well as multiple individual awards.
For opposition fans it has been extremely difficult to dislike Ninkovic, given the showman that he is. He always seems to have time on the ball while in possession. On the odd occasion there wasn’t time, he was able to pirouette past multiple players and play deftly weighted passes.
He also offered a goal threat and was crafty in and around the box when it came to shooting or creating opportunities.
Away from the pitch, the softly spoken playmaker was happy to pose for photos, sign autographs and have a chat with fans while doing regular things like shopping – his work with Sydney’s local Serbian community is held in high regard as well.
In the last couple of seasons, Ninkovic’s powers have been on the wane. Although never the quickest, he has looked noticeably slower.
Ninkovic looked set to leave the Sky Blues less than a year ago, with a huge offer from Macarthur on the table, only to remain. However, the league’s greatest player will be on the hunt for a new club for the coming season.
Yet as Sydney FC embarks on their biggest rebuild, following a disastrous season that included missing the finals, fans have been left confused with this break-up.
Ninkovic took to Instagram to post a video thanking the fans for all their support over the years and announce he would be leaving the club.
This video was deleted shortly after and Sydney FC sent out a media statement advising they were still in negotiations to keep the attacking maestro.
The club has since followed up with a release advising fans of the inevitable departure.
The handling of this favourite son will leave a sour taste in fans’ mouths – especially as the club is struggling to land recruitment targets.
There is strong interest from Macarthur as well as the Wanderers and it looks likely Milos will remain in NSW to finish his career.
Ninkovic will be 38 during the 2022-23 campaign, but he can still have a positive influence on his new club – in particular the younger players, who will get to train with a player who has exceptional technical skills.
While some Sydney fans will blame the club for its poor handling of the situation, others will point the finger at Ninkovic and in particular his agents.
It will be a roller coaster of emotions that will range from denial, anger, depression and finally acceptance.
Once the dust has settled, fans will reminisce about the good old days.
There can be no hard feelings towards a fantastic servant on and off the pitch. However seeing ‘Ninko’ in a different shirt next season will open wounds from the bitter breakup