Since signing a short-term contract, Milicevic has figured prominently in the on-field revitalisation of Newcastle Jets, last season’s worst-performing A-League side.

Ljubo moved to the club in the off-season, lured by the prospect of first team Asian Champions League football, a platform which has since enabled the key defender to once again shine after injury and personal issues saw Ljubo enjoy time-off from the game.
Adored by fans and media alike, Ljubo’s outspoken nature has provoked reactions from the football community and the general public.

‘No dull moments’ seems to be the policy when giving interviews, as Ljubo is evidently enjoying his good relations with certain sections of the media.

Importantly, the fans are applauding his honesty and open personality.
From appearing as a guest panellist on SBS’ Champions League coverage to answering fan questions on the Australian Four-Four-Two football website, Milicevic seems to have generated a healthy dose of ‘Ljubo-mania’.
Fans feared the worst after Milicevic’s silence following his termination of his own contract with Melbourne Victory, but the 28-year-old revealed that he was enjoying his time at Newcastle: “I can focus on myself and I am left alone. Obviously people recognise me, but they don’t really care. Its very laid back and people don’t necessarily break my balls. There is no reason why I’d rush to leave Newcastle.”
Milicevic enjoyed a fruitful five-year career in Switzerland before returning to Australia for personal reasons. After a short spell at FC Zurich, Milicevic moved to FC Basle where he enjoyed regular Champions League action alongside fellow Socceroo Scott Chipperfield before settling at another Champions League-bound club, FC Thun.
At Thun, Milicevic became the first Australian to ever captain a side in the Champions League. A short spell at BSC Young Boys brought to a close Ljubo’s Swiss chapter.
Milicevic has hinted a desire to return to Europe, but he told NKEE that his ambitions of a return to football’s brightest stage are alive. “As far as European leagues (and offers) are concerned, it is not necessary (to go to Europe) but if I were to depart, it would have to be a club competing in the Europa League (formerly called the UEFA Cup) or the Champions League for me to consider going,” he said.
“Aside from the obvious top five European leagues, any potential club needs to be competing in Europe. I harbour ambitions for playing for Hadjuk Split (in Croatia) and ultimately, in the Serie A (Italy).”
Media speculation regarding a proposed Australian B-League drew national attention as experts from the football community called for the re-introduction of Australia’s traditional football clubs to the national stage. Milicevic agreed, suggesting the influence of these clubs deserves more respect.
“If there is a B-League, it would be sad to see none of the so-called ethnic teams called up to compete. Without them, there would be no national team today.
“They supported football from day one. Personally, I don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t inspired by Melbourne Croatia and stars such as Steve Horvat, Josip Simunic and Mark Viduka, to name but a few.
“If they (the Football Federation Australia) tried to start up new franchises, it would be another slap in the face and another sign of disrespect,” he continued.
“We all understand there was a need for a change in the direction of the game from the previous NSL. But all these great clubs such as Melbourne Knights, South Melbourne, Sydney United and Sydney Olympic are basically established breeding ground for the next generation of Aussie talents.”
Milicevic even suggested that the quality of “technical” and “tactical ability” has decreased since the advent of the A-League.
“It would be great to have these clubs back in a professional set up. Aussie talent is lacking without these set ups being embraced by the FFA. The numerous Scottish coaches are picking less ethnic players than ever before. Hence, the resulting lack of technical and tactical ability in the A-League.”
Last week, head Socceroo coach Pim Verbeek went on the record to suggest that he had what he considered better central defenders than Milicevic, a comment which sparked intense debate from the football media. Following Milicevic’s stand-out performances in the Asian Champions League for Newcastle, Verbeek had been under pressure to recall the previously out of favour defender into the Socceroo set-up.
But typically, Milicevic has taken the snub in his stride. When asked about the likelihood of Verbeek using Australia’s virtually assured qualification as an opportunity to experiment, he said, “I think Pim will play seven centre backs and four defensive mid-fielder. If we haven’t scored he’ll bring on Josh (Kennedy) and we’ll start playing long balls!”
With his tongue firmly in his cheek, Milicevic finished by saying he is: “Currently on the market for any European third division clubs as a way back into the Socceroos.”
Ljubo and his Newcastle Jets will face the Korea Republic’s Pohang Steelers on June 24, when the Asian Champions League Round of 16 resumes.


Ljubo and his Newcastle Jets will face the Korea Republic’s Pohang Steelers on June 24, when the Asian Champions League Round of 16 resumes.