Dimitrijevic finds success and a second chance with Sydney
Dimitrijevic became the first player in Sydney FC history to win the club’s three major awards – the Player of the Year, the Players’ Player of the Year and the Members’ Player of the Year – at Tuesday night’s Sky Blue Ball.
It capped a remarkable turnaround for the 31-year-old who told FourFourTwo he took several months off and considered retiring from the game in 2013 before his best friend Nikola Petkovic convinced him to join Sydney.
Dimitrijevic, who is out of contract at season’s end, was delighted with the faith Sydney placed in him upon his arrival despite lacking match fitness after nine months without a club.
After falling out of love with the game, Dimitrijevic clearly owes Sydney a lot and wants to remain at the club, but the two parties are yet to agree to a new contract.
“I’ve enjoyed my time and my football here, of course, I would like to stay,” the Serbian midfielder told FourFourTwo.
“But in football you never know. For the moment, I’m focused on the pitch. We still have the play-offs to play.
“I really don’t want to think about anything else, only the play-offs because I really want to win the Grand Final.
“At the end of the season, after the last game - hopefully the Grand Final - we will have time to speak about my future.”
Sydney coach Graham Arnold believes Dimitrijevic is one of the genuine contenders for the Johnny Warren Medal and clearly values him however the club is under salary cap pressure and also juggling visa spots.
The Serbian’s popularity among fans and his team-mates was made obvious by Tuesday night’s awards.
“I’m very happy especially because I won the awards voted by the members and my team-mates,” Dimitrijevic said.
“It’s very, very important and I’m very proud. I really didn’t expect all these awards. To be the first player to win all three awards is unbelievable."
Dimitrijevic’s achievement is all the more impressive given 12 months ago he left Serbian giants Red Star after a time which he calls a “difficult period”.
Over the following months Dimitrijevic, the son of a legendary Partizan and Dinamo Zagreb player, considered walking away from the game.
“I didn’t want to play anymore,” he said.
“When you go to training and you don’t enjoy it anymore, you must stop. If you play football, you must play with a smile.”
With this in mind, the way Dimitrijevic speaks about his time at Sydney FC shows his gratitude to the club.
“Every training (session) this year I go with a smile,” he said. “Every day I can’t wait to come back to training.
“We are a very good group and a very good team. We’re all together. The ambience is unbelievable and I really enjoy it.”
He added: “I was very lucky to find a club like Sydney FC.
“All these people gave me a second chance. This is the thing for me.
“Everyone helped me a lot. Everyone believed in me from the first day.
“I’m very lucky and now I’m proud, so I want to say thank you to everyone.”