A-League legend Milos Ninkovic will have no qualms about celebrating in front of 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 fixture, this weekend’s derby holds even greater significance because it’s the first time ex-Sydney FC great Ninkovic will play against his old club since his controversial off-season defection to the Western Sydney Wanderers.
And there’s a chance of further spice 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 now oozes red and black, and he will prove it by showing his joy if he finds the back of the net on Saturday.
“I’ve never understood why some players when they score against their old club don’t celebrate the goal,” the veteran playmaker said.
“This is my job now. If I score, I’m going to celebrate with my teammates.
“The Wanderers are now paying me to play well, to score goals and they look after me 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 unhappy with the way he was portrayed when he defected to the Wanderers.
Ninkovic was particularly upset with comments made by Sydney FC coach Steve Corica, who said that in talks with the Sky Blues, the 37-year-old former Serbian international said he wanted to only play “20 or 30 minutes” each game this season.
Corica said the Sky Blues could not cater for the two-time Johnny Warren medallist’s demands, unless he became an Australian citizen and freed up a visa spot on the Sydney roster.
“I didn’t say that. If I accepted their offer, I wouldn’t be playing now because my citizenship hasn’t come through yet,” said Ninkovic, who has started every game this season for his new club.
“I don’t understand why they (Sydney) are angry at me because I’m still playing and I didn’t decide to retire.
“I’m going to retire when I want. I don’t want to retire because some other people told me that I have to retire. I didn’t want to finish my career because of getting citizenship or not.
“I’m so grateful to the Wanderers for giving me a chance to come to training every day, to enjoy my football for at least one more year.”
While saying he would always respect Sydney FC, Ninkovic questioned the club’s “class” after seeing details about a Sky Blues promotion which offers fans sweets and a $10 merchandise voucher in return for No.10 Sydney jerseys adorned with the Ninkovic name.
“I’ll keep my four Sydney grand final jerseys with all the medals I won with the club,” he said.
“The people deserve to know what really happened when I left. Maybe I will tell them all when I retire.”