Former captain Mark Milligan seals return to Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory have swooped to re-sign their A-League winning captain Mark Milligan after the Socceroo missed out on a dream move to England.
Milligan, 31, has returned to AAMI Park on a one-year marquee deal.
The Socceroo utility was honest enough to admit returning to the A-League wasn't his first choice.
And Victory coach Kevin Muscat was mature enough to understand Milligan's ambitions.
After leaving Victory as Joe Marston Medallist in their 2015 winning Grand Final, Milligan spent two years at United Arab Emirates-based Baniyas.
At the expiration of his contract this offseason, he had two opportunities in Britain only to see them scuttled.
Bizarre visa laws require a player's national team to have spent a certain amount of time among the world's top 50 nations.
As Australia fell short of the requirement, Milligan was marooned.
"When England came up it was obviously something I needed to explore," Milligan said on Monday morning.
"It was something that I hadn't been able to do since I was 20 years old.
"There was a couple of teams that looked into it ... as it turned out, the visa situation made it impossible.
"It was tough in the sense that it was out of my control."
That's not to say Milligan isn't happy to be back.
"When I came off contract I wasn't planning on this [but] things aligned," he said.
"Once I spoke to Musky the choice was easy."
Muscat, who now has seven past or present internationals at his disposal, couldn't hide his delight to bring Milligan home.
"I've been in contact ever since he left the football club but it was only in the last few days we were able to table an offer he has accepted," he said.
"We've added a vital part to the team.
"It gives us a great amount of stability."
Milligan indicated Carl Valeri was likely to remain as Victory's captain.
He joins an all-star Victory squad including internationals Besart Berisha, Kosta Barbarouses, James Troisi, Valeri and Rhys Williams.
With three visa slots still available, Muscat said he wasn't done adding to the squad.
"We're pretty excited at the squad we're putting together," he said.
"Based on players becoming available ... we're looking at adding a couple of quality players to the list. Time will tell."