Over the first ten seasons of the A League, the competition has played host to some of the biggest names in world football.
Robbie Fowler, Harry Kewell and Alesandro Del Piero were all at one time genuine footballing superstars, while Dwight Yorke and Juninhio have huge profiles after successful stints in the EPL.
Although the likes of Kewell, Moore and Aloisi provided much needed exposure and talent to the competition, the following are a list of the top five international marquee signings.
For the purpose of this list, guest stint players were not considered and only players who have played a full season in the A League as a marquee came into calculation.
Results are judged on performance, star power and overall contribution to the A League.
5. Marc Janko (Sydney FC)
Although the Austrian only featured for one season in the Australian competition, his 16 goals from just 24 games will leave a lasting impression. His incredible efforts saw him score in seven straight A League fixtures, a record that is highly unlikely to be broken any time soon. He may not have arrived with the profile of former FC marquees such as Yorke and Juninhio, but his performances made him an instant Sky Blues' fan favourite. Unfortunately for fans of the tall striker, difficulties in representing his national side while playing club football in Australia meant he was unable to sign on for a second year. He made a massive impact in his short time down under.
4. Dwight Yorke (Sydney FC)
The original marquee, the former Manchester United superstar was the perfect addition for the inaugural season of the competition. His profile in Australia was high due to his time in the EPL, while his performances on the field converted those who were not already fans. His efforts saw him earn the Joe Marston medal for player of the season. His contribution to the league went way beyond his seven goals in his 21 performances. Yorke left an incredible mark on the season and a mark with a club he helped make “Bling FC”.
3. Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory)
The Albanian striker has two A League winners medals thanks to his time in Brisbane, however last season, as Melbourne Victory’s marquee, was arguably his most dominant. He scored a mountain of goals, had a hand in the setting up of many more and generally made defenders tasks incredibly difficult. If his FFA Cup form is anything to go by, I would not want to be a defender this season either. Berisha played a huge part in the Victory’s double title winning season in 2014-15 and he will play an integral part this season too.
2. Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC)
Del Piero’s arrival brought about unrivaled fanfare to the competition and for good reason too. The former Italian World Cup winning captain brought with him a wealth of experience and even more talent. His trademark free kick in his FC debut was beamed all over the world, as were his following 23 goals. Del Piero was arguably the perfect marquee in that he brought incredible attention to the competition, while also performing brilliantly on field. I saw Del Piero play live multiple times, despite not being a Sydney FC fan. That says it all.
1. Thomas Broich (Brisbane/Queensland Roar)
In any other list, Del Piero would have been the undisputed number one, but Brisbane’s marquee man Thomas Broich is in my view. He has produced the best performances in the A League’s decade long history. His signing in 2010 was the main catalyst in his club winning three straight championships and was capped off with two Johnny Warren medals for player of the season. Broich certainly doesn’t have the international profile of Del Piero and Yorke, but his performances make him THE best marquee in the A League’s history.
Top Three Marquee Failures
Unfortunately for every brilliant marquee signing there has been one that did not work out as hoped. Below are three of those signings that simply didn’t live up to expectation. Once again, guest players were not considered.
3. William Gallas (Perth Glory)
I’m not one of those fans who says a marquee has to be an attacking player, but a marquee probably should be an attacking player. A former EPL winner with Chelsea, Gallas, in his day, was an absolute rock in defence. Unfortunately those days were long gone before he put pen to paper at the Glory. He did manage 14 games for Perth, and scored one goal, however, his performances did not warrant a second season and he was released. Simply put, Gallas did not provide the rock in defence that was expected from a man capped 84 times by France. If he had arrived two seasons prior, he may have been in the top five list, however he arrived in Perth as a player who simply couldn’t live up to his incredible reputation.
2. Brian Deane (Perth Glory)
A second marquee flop for the Glory in the former Premier League striker. Despite stints at clubs such as Leeds, Boro and Sunderland, very few fans knew too much about the man capped three times by England. He only featured seven times for his Aussie club and like Gallas, scored just the one goal. Injury ultimately ended his Glory career, but truth be told he failed to make any real impact. A selfless act in agreeing to be released allowed the Glory the chance to sign another striker should show the type of person Deane was. Unfortunately he was no longer the player who scored 194 goals during his career before landing on Australian shores.
1. Mario Jardel (Newcastle Jets)
The undisputed worst marquee signing in A-League history. The once prolific Porto striker arrived out of shape, disinterested and without boots. Reports have recently surfaced that he was barely able to run during his first practice and was signed based on his ‘super mario’ nickname and his 10 caps for Brazil, many, many years prior. Although, to his credit he did work hard on his fitness, he was unable to find the back of the net in 11 performances for the Jets. He will unfortunately be remembered as the butt of jokes, and as the man whose exit from the club allowed the Jets to go on and capture the title.