Sydney FC have released goalkeeping coach Zeljko “Spider” Kalac from the final year of his contract to pursue another opportunity.
It is understood the World Cup veteran is heading to crosstown rivals Western Sydney Wanderers after they dumped 73-year-old goalkeeping guru, Ron Corry, this week.
Wanderers fans have expressed outrage at Corry's treatment but neither club has confirmed Kalac's switch.
The towering 2.02m former Socceroo joined Sydney four years ago and said he was sad to be leaving.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity and support Sydney FC has given me over the last four years of my life,” Kalac said.
“It is a great club which has helped me during some difficult times and for that I will be forever grateful.
“I’d like to say a very big thank you to Scott Barlow, Tony Pignata, (coach) Graham Arnold and the Sydney FC Board of Directors for the opportunity to allow me to join a close friend who has asked for my help.
“Were it not for the close bond I share with him I would not be leaving the club."
The former Socceroo added: “We’ve had a great season under Arnie this year and he will always be like an older brother to me. It was a pleasure to work under him and with the entire coaching staff at Sydney FC.”
A one-time AC Milan goalkeeper, Kalac is one of the games more controversial and outspoken identities and rarely strays far from a headline.
But he has been instrumental in reinvigorating the Sky Blue’s troublesome goalkeeper ranks following the departure of club great Clint Bolton.
The 42-year-old has brought along current No. 1 Vedran Janjetovic who, with Melbourne City’s Tando Velaphi, kept the highest number of clean sheets (9) in the 2014/15 campaign.
Arnold wished Kalac well for the future.
“I’d like to thank Zeljko for his work over the last year and his job in producing three excellent goalkeepers. People move on in football and I wish Spider and his family all the very best.”
A replacement for Kalac for the Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur games will be announced shortly.
Kalac's release has fuelled speculation that Central Coast goalkeeper coach John Crawley may be headed to Sydney to link-up with Arnold. Both men worked together at the Mariners.comments