Friday 13 May 2005
VICTORY TO UNLEASH KITZ BLITZ ON A-LEAGUE
Hyundai A-League team Melbourne Victory today announced the signing of the club’s second genuine European international player, Richard Kitzbichler, 31, from Austria Vienna.
The Austrian International, who played 17 times for his national team during the 1998 and 2002 World Cup qualifying campaigns, joins the club on a one year deal, leaving just one place remaining on the Victory roster.
Kitzbichler is an attacking midfield player with an eye for goal and a sense of excitement that appealed to the Melbourne Victory hierarchy.
“We were sent hundreds of DVD and videos from all over the globe, and Richard’s was one of the very few that genuinely excited us,” said Football Operations Manager Gary Cole. “He’s the kind of player who plays a style of football that keeps the fans coming back week in, week out. That’s very important for us.”
Kitzbichler heard of the new Hyundai A-League via former Melbourne Knights goalkeeper, Joey Didulica, who plays with him at Austria Vienna. Both were part of the Austria Vienna side which made this year’s UEFA Cup quarter finals.
Head Coach, Ernie Merrick, was able to call on stand-in captain, Mark Byrnes, as a referee for Kitzbichler, the two having played together at Salzburg.
“Richard will be a terrific asset for us,” Merrick said. “He’s an attacking midfielder with enormous speed who also scores goals. We’ve done our homework on him and the recommendations have been very high.”
Kitzbichler takes the total number of Melbourne Victory players signed directly from overseas clubs to seven. Victory’s final signing is expected to be another goalkeeper from Europe which will take this number to eight.
Add to this list players such as Michael Ferrante, Steve Pantelidis and Michael Theoklitos who have all played in Europe during their careers and Melbourne Victory certainly has the experience to supplement the youngsters who did so well against Adelaide United in the Club World Championships last weekend.