NEW Victory marquee Pablo Contreras will bring a giant boost to youthful defensive stocks, Ange Postecoglou promised today.
Contreras, 35, a former Chilean international, has represented his nation at the World Cup, various Copa America tournaments and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
As well as international experience, Contreras competed in the UEFA Champions League only last year with Greek side, Olympiacos.
And with the average age of Victory’s defence at less than 22 before the addiditon of Contreras, an experienced defender was high on Ange’s off-season wish list.
“We have worked really hard thoughout the football department in the last few months to make sure we got the right person that fit not only the football sense but the person as well,” said Postecoglou.
“For me it was important that we got a good character in because we’ve got a young group.
“We’ve got a really exciting young team and we need some really good experienced players and quality players and Pablo fits the bill with that one.
“It’s about understanding your own football club and where you’re at and obviously Melbourne Victory are the biggest club in the country.
“There’s an expectation around it to be successful and you want to be bringing in quality people and quality players.
“For us it was pretty specific in terms of what we were looking for. We needed a quality player but also somebody who could give us some real leadership within the group as well.
“We have a lot of exciting young defenders in our group... and having someone like Pablo at the club I can see their development becoming even more prominent.
“We’re really pleased that we could finally get him here.”
Contreras joins Victory on a free transfer after he was released from the final year of his contract at Olympiacos.
Despite his relatively short frame as a defender, Postecoglou dismissed concerns.
“I don’t look at physical characteristics,” says Postecoglou. “He’s played 60-odd games for his national team at the highest level and he played Champions League football last year.
“He’s a smart defender. He’s as much about using his head as it is his body and I’ve got no doubt about his football qualities.
“I know that Pablo’s a very good character and every club he’s been at, the players have loved him and the supporters have loved him because he gives everything to his football club.
“I’m sure he’ll give everything to the Melbourne Victory football club.”
Contreras will wear the No.2 jersey, which was previously worn by Matthew Foschini and Kevin Muscat.