Over 30 International players have graced the Hyundai A-League as marquee players or under guest spots since the beginning in 2005. While some have proven to be very successful, there have been a number of disappointing flops as well. This article split into two dissects a list of marquee players to have joined the league at some stage in their career into judgement of their success or failure.
TOP 10 STARS
10. Sergio Van Dijk- Adelaide United 2010-2012; 55 games, 25 goals
Relatively unknown Dutch striker who spent seven years in the Dutch second division and scoring 45 goals in 150+ appearances before moving to Brisbane Roar in the A-League in 2008. This was where he spent two seasons, averaging a goal every two games across 50 matches. Signed with Adelaide United as their marquee for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. Returned to Adelaide in January on an Asian Champions League contract following spells in Indonesia, Iran and Thailand.
9. Robbie Fowler- North Queensland Fury 2009-2010; 26 games, 9 goals & Perth Glory 2010-2011; 28 games, 9 goals
The man known as 'God' by his adoring Liverpool fans which he spent two spells at conjuring up over 250 appearances and over 120 goals surprisingly arrived in the hot city of Townsville in 2009 before relocating to Perth the following season. Fowler arrived at the age of 34 yet still brought much to be desired with his lovely volleys and comprehensive finishing, however his goals couldn't lead either club to a finals appearance in his time there.
8. Shane Smeltz- Gold Coast United 2009-2010 & 2011; 38 games, 28 goals & Perth Glory 2011-2014; 58 games, 28 goals
Smeltz was born in West Germany however eventually pledged his allegiance to New Zealand, whom he scored 24 international goals for, including one in the 2010 World Cup against Italy. Smeltz spent time in the Australian NSL before venturing over to England, plying his trade for Mansfield Town and AFC Wimbledon. Smeltz played at Wellington from 2007-2009, scoring 21 in 39 games before achieving a marquee status at Gold Coast and Perth Glory, leading both clubs to finals appearances and Perth to its only A-league Grand Final. Smeltz now plays for Sydney FC but no longer as a marquee.
7. Dwight Yorke- Sydney FC 2005-06; 21 games, 7 goals
Trinidad and Tobago's Dwight Yorke became the first marquee player of the A-league when it began in 2005. He brought style and charisma to Sydney after his years of experience producing countless goals for Aston Villa and Manchester United where he won the European Champions League. Yorke was instrumental in securing the inaugural title for Sydney FC however he departed at season's end and returned to the Premier League with Sunderland.
6. Marcelo Carrusca- Adelaide United 2012-current; 76 games, 23 goals
The classy Argentine Carrusca arrived in South Australia with his ability to wow crowds with his array of silky skills in 2012. While his marquee status was only credited from 2014 onwards, there's no doubt of the quality he has brought to the Adelaide side, developing crucial combinations with Sergio Cirio and Isaias. Prior to joining the A-league, Carrusca played mainly in Argentina at Estudiantes and San Martin on either side of a stint with Galatasaray. Carrusca hasn't yet failed to take Adelaide to a finals series.
5. Alessandro Del Piero- Sydney FC 2012-2014; 48 games, 24 goals
One of the greatest ever footballers to even grace the shores of Australia, let alone play in the Hyundai A-League, Del Piero arrived with the largest fuss out of all of these marquees and rightly so. The Italian legend spent 20 years at Juventus where he scored more than 200 goals in over 500 appearances, won endless domestic competitions along with the European Champions League and also the 2006 World Cup for Italy. He also endured a fairly successful two season spell in Australia, leading Sydney to the finals series in the 2013-14 season despite bowing out early.
4. Marc Janko- Sydney FC 2014-2015; 24 games, 16 goals
Janko's prolific goalscoring in his single season in the A-League says it all. Still having a lot to offer, Janko introduced himself to Australia with a stunning long-range volley catching Brisbane keeper Jamie Young off his line in Round 3. After prolific spells at Red Bull Salzburg in his native Austria and FC Twente in Holland, Janko moved onto record only 6 goals in 33 games at Porto and Trabzonspor disappointingly and found his best form again in Australia. Janko's form carried Sydney into the Grand Final which they lost to Melbourne Victory. The tall striker now plays for Basel in Switzerland and is in career best form.
3. Thomas Broich- Brisbane Roar 2010-current; 145 games, 17 goals
The 34 year old German won his first title with Brisbane in his first season in the A-League. He repeated the same feat the following year and again two years later. The power of Brisbane over the A-League has dramatically increased since Broich's arrival who has rarely been absent from games since he joined. Bringing 137 games of experience in the German leagues with Monchengladbach and Nurnberg has been vital to Brisbane's three A-league titles in just five full seasons.
2. Shinji Ono- Western Sydney Wanderers 2012-2014; 51 games, 10 goals
This Japanese legend helped the Wanderers into the A-League Grand Final in their first two seasons and his absence was clearly missed in the 2014-15 campaign when they slumped to ninth spot. Shinji earned legend status in just two seasons at a new club and it showed through the impact he left on Wanderers fans, during his last home appearance in the A-League. Ono previously spent time with Feyenoord in the Dutch League as well as VFL Bochum in Germany and Urawa and Shimizu from Japan. A creative genius, Ono was capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat whether it be a goal of skilful technique or another assist that demonstrated his vision.
1. Besart Berisha- Melbourne Victory 2014-current; 45 games, 29 goals
The Albanian Berisha joined Brisbane Roar in 2011 as an unknown player, having only played for low German side Arminia and Danish teams among an unsuccessful stint at Hamburg SV. In round four of his first season in the A-league, Berisha signalled his goalscoring intent with a four goal tally in a 7-1 rout of Adelaide at home. Two A-league titles were secured for Brisbane with Berisha at the club before he was signed by rivals Melbourne Victory in a deal worth a higher salary due to his rise into marquee status. Berisha's enigmatic persona also makes him one of the biggest characters in the A-League that opposition fans simply love to hate.