Celtic has had many legends but they’ve also seen their fair share of players who never got the praise they deserved. Mark Viduka is an example of this.
Viduka was with the team between 1998 and 2000 and scored goals in 37 games in the Scottish Premier League. This led to the Australian striker joining Leeds United in a £6 million deal but for some reason what he did at Celtic seems to have been overlooked a bit. Legends like John Hartson, Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton were part of a successful period in Celtic’s history, just after Viduka left. That could be why many forget about him.
Mark Viduka retired when he was 33 and he’s kept a low profile since. He currently runs a coffee shop with his wife in Zagreb. The former Celtic and Leeds striker talked to ESPN recently. It was his first interview since leaving soccer 10 years ago.
Viduka revealed why he left Celtic in 1998, just four days after signing a £3.5 million deal. He told ESPN why he fled to Australia before debuting with Celtics: “I was burnt out mentally. I just needed a break, and getting back to see my family and friends is what I needed. Thank God I did. They were understanding, but urged me back. I have a lot to thank them for.”
He then returned to Celtic after the team made the necessary payment to Croatia Zagreb (now Dinamo Zagreb) and Viduka impressed in his debut in February 1999. He played in 47 games in all competitions with Celtic and scored 35 goals. His efforts were not enough to help Celtic win the Scottish Premier League title and he only won a League Cup medal in his time there.
“Sadly, in Scotland, coming second is like coming last. No one cares unless you win the league. Who knows what would have happened if Henrik didn’t get injured (leg break in Lyon). I think we would have won it (the league title),” Viduka said.
After Celtic he continued his great career, going to Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Newcastle. Now he has a new life with his wife Ivana. “It’s great to do something different. You make a bad coffee, you throw it in the bin. I try and make the best coffee as I can, though. I think I’ve become pretty good at it. Actually, you’d be surprised at the pressure. Lots of people take their coffee seriously these days!”