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Jan 11, 2011

Milicevic denies Jets rift rumours

Newcastle Jets defender Ljubo Milicevic says his decision to seek a move to Europe hasn't seen him frozen out of the A-League club.

Milicevic hasn't played for the Jets since announcing his intention in December, officially due to an ankle injury, but there's also been rumours his decision wasn't received well by some of the club's players.

The 29-year-old had to hand the captain's armband over to midfielder Kasey Wehrman following the announcement and coach Branko Culina said the issue had taken its toll on his team's A-League finals ambitions after a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC last week.

But Milicevic says all is well and he's grateful the club has allowed him to take extra time to recuperate from his injury to improve his chances of securing an overseas deal.

"Firstly, thanks to the fans," Milicevic told AAP.

"I've had a great time in Newcastle over the last two years through the ups and downs. It's been a pleasure being here.

"The thought was my ankle may not be good enough by then (the end of the season) and at the same time they need to look forward.

"I was happy to give Kasey the captaincy, he's a good leader and he'll be around for a few more years and I think he'll do the club proud.

"I haven't been frozen out mate. I spoke to Branko on the phone yesterday, I'm in contact with all the boys and he (Culina) was doing me a favour saying I could go home to recuperate rather than sitting up in Newcastle and do nothing."

Milicevic played in Switzerland from 2001-07, playing Champions League football for FC Thun in the 2005-06 season, before returning to Australia after cutting short a four-year deal with Young Boys of Berne.

And the former Socceroo, who has played six times for his country, admits he has unfinished business in Europe.

"I rejected a lot of money to not stay there, I had to give up my contract to leave, basically, and my signing-on fee and so forth, but I'm the type of bloke who leads from his heart," said Milicevic, who confirmed clubs in Denmark, Switzerland, Croatia and Sweden were chasing his signature.

"If my heart's not in it, I can't fake it.

"Now after three years in Australia I'm just like, you know what, it's unfinished over there and I really want to go back and see how far I can go again.

"If I can do what I did before, maybe play Champions League, then I've achieved a dream again.

"I'm 29, I'm at the peak of my game. I'm both mentally fresh and focused and physically still great so if I don't go now mate, then when am I going to go next?

"My beautiful girlfriend Iskra said that she'd come with me so I won't be lonely anymore and it makes things easier."


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