Back To The Future
New Phoenix striker Andrija Kaluderovic has unfinished A-League business in his new home across the Tasman.
Phoenix’s Andrija Kaluderovic
Blink and you missed Andrija Kaluderovic’s fourmonth stay with Brisbane Roar in 2015. The Serbian made just 10 appearances for John Aloisi’s team, scoring a respectable five goals, before he was shipped off at the end of the season. It was a case of what might have been, with the journeyman centre forward heading for short stints at clubs in Qatar, Lithuania and Thailand. But a little over two years later and the well-travelled 30-year old is back in the A-League with Wellington Phoenix as part of Darije Kalezic’s new squad. The appeal of another new challenge and once more working with assistant Rado Vidosic was strong and Kaluderovic feels he has plenty left to show rivals. “Definitely,” he says. “I left the job unfinished and my friends that know me know I don’t like to leave the job unfinished! I always feel this. “After Brisbane I said to myself, if I have possibilities at some time in the future to come back, I will take the opportunity. With both hands. Kaluderovic’s career reads like a Lonely Planet guidebook with the title of ‘Have football boots, will travel’. Phoenix are the striker’s 18th club in an odyssey that started way back at OFC Beograd in 2003. Since starting off in Belgrade he has managed stops in China, Spain, Cyprus, Switzerland, Australia and the Middle East over the past 14 years. The common denominator? He has scored goals wherever he has played, more than 100 of them in total during the course of his career. Along the way he was the Serbian SuperLiga’s top scorer in 2011 and the Lithuanian A Lyga’s top-scorer in 2016. Kaluderovic’s knack for regularly finding the back of the net was what won him three international caps for the Orlovic between 2010 and 2011. Goals are what he is promising to deliver in the Land of the Long White Cloud. “I bring experience, and I bring goals. I have good finishing and I make smart runs. When I have good players around me I can score goals. In training already, I see Gui, I see Mikey, I see Dario, I see Roy. We have good players. My personal goal is the same for every season, at every club I play – to score the maximum number of goals I can, whatever is possible, and to make the best result in the history of the club.” Kaluderovic will have his work cut out for him at Westpac Stadium. Phoenix finished seventh last season and have never reached an A-League Grand Final. The club has only qualified for the finals four times in the past decade. But the forward is unfazed by history and believes a new tide is turning in Wellington. “I like how the team this year is looking – I remember playing against the captain Durante when I was at Brisbane and he was a strong, strong player. “New signings too, they seem good players. We can only try to win every game, and we will see our results at the end of the year. “I really believe though we can make the best result the club has seen, in the history of the club.”