Melbourne Victory captain Ola Toivonen confirmed he is looking at a return to Sweden when his Melbourne Victory contract ends – but is yet to decide for sure.
In an interview published with by Swedish newspaper Karlskoga Tidning on Tuesday, the 33-year-old Victory captain said he was “done abroad”, while praising the growth of the Swedish top division, the Allsvenskan.
“I've seen a lot of the world and the kids are getting old,” the 64-time Swedish international said. “We feel that it is time to look closer to home and most likely is [in] Sweden.”
Ahead of his side’s meeting with Western United this Sunday at Kardinia Park, Toivonen was forthright about both the Swedish reports and about his thoughts on staying in the A-League.
“I got a question and I was honest,” said Toivonen.
“It’s been a little bit in the back of my head, what I’m going to do next, but, for the moment, I’m just focused on winning games for Victory.
“I’ve been out for a few years – I think it’s 11 right now that I haven’t been home in Sweden. If I’m going to take the opportunity to see what the Swedish competition is about again, it’s time to do it in the summer.
“But, as I said, I don’t know what’s going to happen after this season. For the moment I’m not focused on anything else than just winning games for Victory.
“[There’s been] no decision, no talks.
“It was a simple question from a reporter and I answered as honestly as I could and the answer was that I have it in the back of my head for the moment but nothing more than that.
“It’s [Australia] a very good life for me, for the family. The kids are happy, and I think that’s the most important thing for the moment.
“I’m happy with the time I had here when it comes to the lifestyle.
“I’m not so happy with the prize we’ve been not winning during my spell here but maybe one prize to play for this year and I hope we’re going to reach it.”
Signed ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, Toivonen has left a seismic mark on the four-time A-League champions since touching down.
Scoring 15 goals and grabbing four assists across 22 league appearances in his first year in Australia, the Swede’s impressive form – in stark contrast to many of his teammates – has carried over to 2019/20.
The striker has already netted five times in eight games so far in 2019 and added another assist.
Indeed, when Robbie Kruse turned in an Andrew Nabbout cross to give Victory the lead against Perth Glory last Friday night, it was the first time that Victory had found the scoresheet in the 2019/20 A-League season without Toivonen either scoring or providing the assist.
The triumvirate of Kruse, Nabbout and Toivonen had been lauded as one of, if not the, best partnerships in the competition ahead of its commencement but injuries to both Kruse and Nabbout have restricted the trio to just a single start together thus far.
However, all indications are that the trinity will all be fit when the club makes the trek to Geelong in order looking to avenge their round four defeat and capitalize on the momentum gained from their 1-0 win over Glory last week.
“It’s always good to get them back,” the Victory captain said. “It’s nice to get Robbie back in the team. He’s been producing: an assist in Adelaide for my goal and now he’s scored one as well.
“It’s always good, the better players you have the more opportunities you’re going to get for the team in front of the goal. If I’m getting more attention in one game that means that Robbie and Andy are going to be free and vice versa.
“I think Andy and Robbie are working a lot off the ball and if I’m coming a little bit deeper down the pitch I can knock it deep and they’re running for their lives. It’s good. It’s easy to play with.
“I think for the moment we have a really good mixture of different types of players and we can create dangerous situations out of nothing.
“I think the lesson we got [in the round four loss] was that we were 2-0 up and we became very comfortable. I think it was just sloppy of us.
“If we can avoid that I’m happy but it’s a learning process as well and, as I said, we were 2-0 up and if we kept going that game would have ended in a different result.”