Aussie Karlovic drops down division in Malaysia to sign with Kuala Lumpur
KUALA LUMPUR -- Former Australian youth international Mario Karlovic has joined Malaysia Premier League side Kuala Lumpur FA as he looks to rejuvenate his career after a disappointing spell with ATM FA.
Karlovic, 31, has dropped down a division to help the former regional powerhouses return to glory.
Kuala Lumpur won three consecutive Malaysia Cups and two Malaysia Super League titles in the late 1980s and also made the semifinals of the 1987 and 1989 Asian Club Championship, a forerunner to the AFC Champions League. But they haven't played in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) since 2012.
"It is always hard to drop down a division, but Kuala Lumpur are a big club with a big history and they have a vision to go up," the ex-Brisbane Roar midfielder told ESPN FC.
"It would be great to help make that happen so I am very excited about signing with them."
Kuala Lumpur finished a disappointing 11th in the 2015 Malaysia Premier League but have high hopes of earning promotion under head coach Ismail Zakaria, who was with MSL side Sime Darby last season.
Karlovic had been linked to both Sarawak and Perak in the MSL but opted for Kuala Lumpur to work under Zakaria.
"I decided to go with Kuala Lumpur because I liked the coach and his vision," he said.
Other import players at the club include Mali midfielder Modibo Konte and Brazilian centre-back Leo Carioca.
Karlovic, who previously played with Terengganu in the MSL in addition to Indonesian clubs Persebaya Surabaya and Minangkabau FC, added that he was still chasing six months unpaid wages from ATM.
ATM face T-Team in an MSL playoff on Jan. 30, taking the place of Singapore's LionsXII who were ejected from Malaysian football at the end of last year.
"I am in the same position as most of my ATM teammates from last season," Karlovic said. "FAM should be stronger on this to ensure that all the squad and staff are paid and that ATM are punished if they are found guilty of non-payment of players."
The 2015 Malaysia Premier League season begins on Feb. 12.