Nikita Rukavytsya admits this weekend’s trip to his hometown and former club Perth Glory will be "difficult" after turning them down to join Western Sydney Wanderers last month.
The pacy 27-year-old winger was chased by Glory in the off-season, before being convinced by Wanderers boss Tony Popovic to join the Western Sydney outfit after falling out of favour at German club FSV Mainz.
Rukavytsya, who debuted for Wanderers last weekend, defended his decision to reject Glory for Wanderers ahead of the trip west.
“Glory is very special and close to my heart,” Rukavytsya told FourFourTwo.
“You know you can’t always please the fans. Everyone was upset but I can’t make decisions for other people, I make decisions on what’s best for my career.”
The 13-time Socceroo said Glory meant a lot to him and if he did happen to hit the back of the net against them, he wouldn’t celebrate.
“If I score, I’m not going to celebrate,” he declared.
He continued: “It’s a difficult one. Obviously Perth is a very special place for me, it’s my home town. But right now, I’m here, I’m happy, I love this club also.
“We’re going there to win and get the three points. But it’ll be nice to play at home.”
Rukavytsya revealed he originally hadn’t planned to return to Australia, preferring to stay in Europe, given he had a year to run on his Mainz contract.
However, the Ukraine-born flyer had fallen out of favour at Mainz and in the off-season explored a switch to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, where his wife hails from.
The former Hertha Berlin and FC Twente man said he was convinced to come back to Australia by Popovic.
“Popa was one of the main reasons I came home,” said Rukavytsya, who has penned a one-year deal with WSW.
“I’d spoken to him a few times. I still wanted to remain in Europe and not come back to Australia just yet.
“He convinced me it’d be good to come back now and after this season see what happens after.
“I’m still young, so my plan is still to play at the top level, so we’ll see what happens after this season.”
Rukavytsya is confident he still has plenty to offer at the top level in Europe, admitting the lure of UEFA Champions League action was in the forefront of his mind with his potential move to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The 27-year-old was left frustrated by spells at Mainz and FSV Frankfurt where he never understood why he wasn’t getting the game-time he wanted.
The 2010 World Cup Socceroo finished the 2010-11 season with Hertha Berlin with the second most assists, with 12, in Germany’s 2.Bundesliga as the club earned promotion and hopes to return to that form and better.
Meanwhile, Rukavytsya hasn’t been included in any of Australia coach Ange Postecoglou’s squads but insisted the national team wasn’t something on his mind at the moment.
“It’s always an honour to represent Australia,” he said. “When I get a chance, I’m always happy.
“But right now I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about the club and being successful. When everything is going good, everything else will sort itself out.”comments