- Josip Skoko
Football player infobox
playername = Josip Skoko
fullname = Josip Skoko
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1975|12|10
cityofbirth = Mount Gambier
height = height|m=1.80
position = Central Midfielder
youthclubs = AIS
North Geelong Warriors
years = 1995–1999
→ Stoke City (loan)
caps(goals) = 106 (19)
nationalyears = 1995
nationalteam = Australia U-20
12 November 2007
11 September 2007
Skoko's family is of
Croatian descent. He previously played for Hajduk Split (1995-Oct 99), Racing Club Genk (1999-2003) and Gençlerbirliği (2003-05). In 2002, Skoko captained the Genk side to the Belgian First Division championship. He was also an integral member of the Gençlerbirliği team, which progressed into the latter stages of the UEFA Cupin 2004.
Skoko joined English Premier League club Wigan on a free transfer at the beginning of the 2005-06 season, although he has failed to maintain a regular place in the first team. On
January 7 2006Skoko signed for Football League Championshipside Stoke City on loan until the end of the 2005–06 season. [Cite news
title = Skoko signs loan deal with Stoke
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/s/stoke_city/4690320.stm
publisher = BBC Sport
accessdate = 2008-03-15]
In the 2006-07 season,
Paul Jewellshowed renewed faith in Skoko giving him an extended run in the side. The transfers of Jimmy Bullardand Graham Kavanaghto Fulham and Sunderland, respectively, in the summer of 2006 left a gap in Wigan's midfield and this led to him becoming a mainstay in the Wigan Athletic midfield, partnering Paul Scharnerand Denny Landzaat. He signed a new contract deal keeping him at Wigan until 2008. However, at the end of the season it became clear that Skoko had played his last game for the club. The two main reasons were because he did not play enough games for Wigan to trigger a clause in his contract and also the impossibility of receiving a visa for his stay in England due to his international retirement with Australia. [citenews| url=http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/wigan-athletic/2008/05/06/work-permit-woe-for-wigan-star-josip-skoko-89520-20407038/ |title=Work permit woe for Wigan star Skoko |work=UK Daily Mirror |date=2007-05-06] It was decided in May 2008 that Skoko's contract would not be renewed and he was subsequently released by Wigan.
Due to various work permit issues when playing in Europe, it took a longer than expected time for Skoko to put pen to paper with a club of his choice. However, on July 21, and after several weeks of speculation, Skoko had finally signed a two year deal with former club Hajduk. The decision, he said, took only minutes for the club and himself to agree terms. Skoko is relishing the chance to return to the side he made more than 100 appearances for between 1995 and 1999, with a club he describes as "a second home". [citenews| url=http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/80888,skokos-hajduk-split-decision.aspx|title=Skoko's Hajduk Split Decision |work=FourFourTwo Australia |date=2008-07-22|accessdate=2008-07-23]
Skoko was a member of the Australian National football team for ten years, from 1997 to 2007. He made his debut for Australia against Macedonia in 1997 and was a mainstay of the "Socceroos" side from then on, participating in two World Cup qualifying campaigns. He also represented his country at the 2000 Olympics.
In November 2005, Skoko came on as a substitute in Australia's playoff victory over Uruguay to qualify for the
2006 FIFA World Cup. He also captained a weakened Australian side against Bahrain in an Asian Cupqualifier in 2006.
May 25 2006, Skoko scored a cracking volley from 25m for Australia in a 1-0 friendly victory over Greece in front of 95,103 spectators at the MCG in Melbourne, which he regards as his greatest national team moment. He was selected in the squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany but did not play in any of Australia's four games.
After being named in the the Australian side for a friendly match against Argentina on
September 11 2007, Skoko stated that the game would be his home farewell from international football. [citenews| url=http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/60232,skoko-will-quit-roos-at-mcg.aspx |title=Skoko Will Quit 'Roos At MCG |work=FourFourTwo Australia |date=2007-08-31|accessdate=2007-08-31] Skoko ended his international career 51 minutes into the match in Melbourne when he was replaced by Grosseto midfielder Carl Valeri.
* [http://www.josipskoko.com Official website]
* [http://www.ozfootball.net/ark/Players/S/SI.html Oz Football profile]
* [http://www.fourdiegos.com/jskoko.htm Four Diegos interviews]
* [http://www.pintculture.com/default.asp?action=article&ID=44 Pint Culture profile]
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