Australian football came of age 10 years ago on a sweat-drenched night in Hanoi. It was the Socceroos first match as an 'Asian' nation – the exotic region was beckoning us into a new era – and we followed under the pretence that football down under could grow to bountiful new heights.
2006 / 2007 wasn’t as successful for Bresc as it was for many others. While he dominated in Serie A, playing some of the best football of his career, Bresciano failed to have the same impact at international level during this period.
At club level, Bresc re-invented what success looked like for Australians in Italy’s top flight, with 330 appearances for Empoli, Parma, Palermo and Lazio after leaving the CoE in 1997.
He also had six very successful years in the Middle East, especially compared to many of the Australians who ventured over then, and now.
His unique standing among the Socceroos golden generation saw him become one of only two regular starters in the 2006 World Cup to be retained for the 2014 tournament, with Bresciano eventually retiring a year later.
He retired in Qatar, citing that it was unexpected and he would of liked to return to the A-League. But he also acknowledged that Schwarzer had a point when he said Socceroos greats suffered when returning to Australia past their prime.
Following retirement, Bresciano is practically the only former footballer on this list that’s not involved in football. He lives in Melbourne, completed a Technical Director course in Italy, but has passions other than football to keep him active these days.
Guus Hiddink praised Wilkshire as one of the most technically gifted Australian players during his reign – and there were a few to choose from. Unfortunately for Wilkshire, his place at the heart of the golden generation is often overlooked, and he now occupies a position as one of the Socceroos forgotten men.
Many pundits considered him an unfair victim of Postecoglou’s Socceroos regeneration, but he’ll always be remembered as one of the finest fullbacks Australia’s ever produced.
Until May, Wilkshire was playing for Dynamo Moscow, where he was one of Australia’s highest-paid and most prestigious footballers. Although an A-league contract would be a certainty for the 35-year-old, and an opportunity to show Aussie fans what they’ve been missing, Wilkshire’s retirement now looks likely.
He’s well-established in Russia, has spoken at length about his love for his Russian wife and children, and recently converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity.