A-League legend Milos Ninkovic will have no qualms about celebrating in front of the Sky Blues fans who once adored him if he scores a goal in Saturday night’s Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium.
Always a highly anticipated match, this weekend’s derby takes on even greater importance because it marks the first time that former Sydney FC player Ninkovic will play against his former club since his controversial off-season defection to Western Sydney Wanderers.
And there is a chance there could be more spark if former Wanderer Jack Rodwell recovers from a groin injury to make his first A-League appearance for the Sky Blues.
Ninkovic enjoyed his seven seasons with Sydney FC, but his blood is now oozing red and black, and he will show his delight if he finds the back of the net on Saturday.
“I have never understood why some players when they score against their old club don’t celebrate the goal,” said the veteran attacking midfielder.
“This is my job now. If I score, I’m going to celebrate with my teammates.
“The Wanderers now pay me to play well, score goals and take care of myself and my family.”
Ninkovic once considered the Sky Blues his family and said he would “never” say anything bad about Sydney FC.
However, he was not happy with the way he was portrayed when he defected to the Wanderers.
Ninkovic was particularly upset by comments made by Sydney FC manager Steve Corica, who said that in talks with the Sky Blues, the 37-year-old former Serbian international said he only wanted to play “20 or 30 minutes” each game this season.
Corica said that Sky Blues could not meet the demands of two-time medalist Johnny Warren unless he became an Australian citizen and freed up a visa spot on the Sydney roster.
“I did not say that. If I accepted his offer, I wouldn’t be playing now because my citizenship hasn’t come yet,” said Ninkovic, who has started every game this season for his new club.
“I don’t understand why they (Sydney) are mad at me because I’m still playing and I didn’t decide to retire.
“I will retire whenever I want. I don’t want to retire because other people told me that I have to retire. I didn’t want to end my degree because of getting citizenship or not.
“I am very grateful to the Wanderers for giving me the opportunity to come to train every day, to enjoy my football for at least one more year.”
While he said he would always respect Sydney FC, Ninkovic questioned the “class” of the club after seeing details of a Sky Blues promotion offering fans candy and a $10 merchandise coupon in exchange for number 10 jerseys. Sydney emblazoned with Ninkovic’s name.
“I will keep my four jerseys from the Sydney grand final with all the medals I won with the club,” he said.
“People deserve to know what really happened when I left. Maybe I’ll tell you everything when I retire.”