Thursday, 8 February 2007 12:00 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South Melbourne FC are pleased to announce the further strengthening of its playing squad with the signing of 2004-2005 Premier League Gold Medal winner – Ricky Diaco.
Diaco joins from the Bulleen Zebras and brings a level of quality and flair in keeping with the traditional spirit of attacking and attractive football, synonymous with the South Melbourne name.
Ricky Diaco began to rise in prominence in the 2002-2003 season when he top scored for the then State 2 Springvale White Eagles as well as coming runner up in the State 2 player of the year voting that season.
Diaco then transferred to the then Premier League outfit Frankston Pines whilst continuing to play competitive Futsal at a high level, representing the Victorian state team. The 2004-2005 was a career peak for Diaco who was voted the best player in the Victorian Premier League as well as being invited to travel to South Korea to represent Australia in the Futsal World Cup.
Reflecting with some disappointment, Diaco acknowledges that declining the offer to represent his country at Futsal’s finest stage is a “big regret”, however, with an A-League contract on the table from the Melbourne Victory, Diaco’s career was gaining severe momentum.
After a disappointing A-League season in which the humble Diaco refuses to direct any negativity towards anyone, simply stating that “If I was given 3-4 games in a row to find sharpness and match fitness, I would’ve been able to show what I could offer, this is a problem that other players in the A-League are currently experiencing and when being called upon to perform are finding it very difficult to adjust”.
Diaco goes on to add, “playing in the A-League is possible for many players in the Victorian Premier League, the major difference is the extra sharpness, strength and fitness a player can obtain through the full-time setup, from a technical perspective, good players don’t have to make a big jump”.
When asked why he signed for South Melbourne, Diaco was full of praise for Coach John Anastasiadis. “When you have a coach who has been chasing you for three seasons and has repeatedly stated his full confidence in your ability, you begin to feel wanted and consider becoming part of the setup. When you add to the mix the amount of quality and experienced players at South, it’s wasn’t too hard of a decision”.
Diaco also shed some light on linking up with fellow Futsal enthusiast and South Melbourne best and fairest winner Fernando Moraes. “Yeah we have discussed that actually, we’d love to play for Victoria together and with the next World Cup scheduled for Brazil not to mention me having missed out on the World Cup previously, both Fernando and I have set that as somewhat of a goal”.
Diaco concludes the interview with a message to the supporters. “Above all I want to have a good season, play attractive football, score goals and create chances, I hope I’ll be able to show the South supporters my true ability and entertain them as well as repay the faith shown in me by the Coach and board”.
The South Melbourne football family is honored to have Ricky Diaco in its ranks and wishes him the best of luck for the upcoming season.