Brisbane’s Big Mac
Italian marksman Massimo Maccarone is ageing like a fine wine and is ready to prove the critics wrong.
Roar’s Michael Maccarone
The headlines are already written… Dad’s Army – too old, too slow, past their best. It’s true Brisbane Roar have a squad with plenty of experience, plenty of kilometres in their legs for when the new A-League campaign kicks off. Nine of Brisbane’s squad are on the wrong side of 32. Five of them are 34 or older. It might just be the oldest roster in A-League history. Massimo Maccarone is the poster gramps of them all, as a former Italian international who spent nearly two decades starring in Serie A and the English Premier League. At 38, the striker still scored seven times and picked up two assists in 29 matches in Italy’s top flight last season. Maccarone is adamant age is just a number and he will do the business in the A-League. “I’ve come here to score goals,” he says. “I know now I am 38, I can’t do the same things when I was 25 or 30. But my fitness is OK because I’ve been very lucky in my career not to get many injuries. I think I can play. In the past 10-15 days, I’ve played three games of 90 minutes and I’ve had no problems.” Scoring goals and proving people wrong is what Maccarone has been doing for almost 20 years. In 279 career appearances in Serie A, the forward bagged 79 goals and 27 assists. He has banged in nine goals in 18 games in European competitions, along with 18 in 81 Premier League matches. In terms of durability and consistency over time, Maccarone has few equals. The target man’s career started in AC Milan’s academy way back in 1996. He has never been afraid of a challenge or of backing his ability, going out on loan six different times to gain gametime. He’s also tasted life in England, spending five rollercoaster seasons at Middlesbrough from 2002 to 2007. There, he had many Australian teammates, including Mark Schwarzer, Mark Viduka, Tony Vidmar and Luke Wilkshire. But it was another two Socceroos during his first stint at Empoli who became close friends and convinced him of the appeal of a move Down Under. “I’ve played with many Australian people,” he says. “I have good friends in Marco Bresciano and Vince Grella. I spoke with Grella about that at Empoli and he came to find me a team. “I told him two years ago, ‘Next year I want a new experience in Australia’ and he said let me know when you are ready. This summer we spoke about that and I came here. I’ve never been to Australia and it’s a vey good country.” Outspoken, versatile, talented, skillful, Maccarone will bring plenty to Roar as a player unafraid to speak his mind, and who can play in a number of attacking positions, both as goalscorer and goal-provider. Nicknamed ‘Big Mac’, the striker has played with and against some of the finest in the world, representing the Azzurri twice and a fan favourite at many of his clubs. Life won’t be dull with Maccarone around. He hopes his experience can benefit Roar youngsters like Nicholas D’Agostino, Shannon Brady and Corey Gameiro: “When I was younger, I always looked to the older players to learn. Now that I’m older, I hope the younger players will look to me so how I can help them.” But the immediate goal is silverware. While Maccarone won the Football League Cup and reached the 2006 UEFA Cup final with Boro, he has never won a Premiership in his long career. The veteran will be angling to break that record during his time at Suncorp Stadium. “We have a good team,” he says. “Now we have many injured players but when they’re fit we’ll have a good team and we have some good younger players as well. The target is to win the Championship because Brisbane with its history in the last six years it’s won it three times. We’ll try to do our best.”