Injured Socceroo Michael Zullo won’t make a playing return this season and says he’s expecting to leave FC Utrecht in the off-season.
Zullo has been out of action since July after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury in club training.
The 26-year-old left-back had told FourFourTwo in March that he was hoping to return to action before the end of the campaign after a positive rehabilitation process.
Zullo hoped some game time, even with Utrecht’s reserves, would boost his chances of winning a new deal with his contract due to expire, but recently in consultation with the club’s medical staff he decided a return would be too risky.
“I definitely won’t play,” Zullo told FourFourTwo. “I had a hard time accepting that, but the physio and doctors think the risks involved are massive.
“It was a really hard decision to make and one I wasn’t happy about at first, but looking back on it now, I think it’s for the best.
“I don’t have a contract for next season, so if I was to get re-injured it’d be disastrous.
“I’m going to have a full pre-season ahead of me. I’m going to ramp up in a normal way. It is what it is.”
Zullo said he isn’t expecting a new contract at Utrecht and would return to his native Brisbane in late May.
The Dutch club have confirmed coach Rob Alflen and technical advisor Co Adriaanse will exit at the end of the season, leaving Zullo in limbo.
In the meantime, the former Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United man is on the lookout for a new opportunity.
“I’m making arrangements as if I’m not going to be there,” Zullo said about Utrecht.
“That door’s still not closed, but at the moment I’m planning on not being there. I’m definitely exploring my options.
“I’m pretty open to a lot of things. I’m open to a new challenge whether that be in Holland or another country, I’ll do what’s best for my career.
“I want to try and stay in the most competitive competition and the best side that I can and wherever that is, it is.”
At 26 years of age, Zullo conceded his next decision would be critical for his long-term future.
“It’s a pretty crucial time of my career,” he said.
“I’m entering that peak period and that’s why I’m really excited for next couple of seasons and why I need to make the right decision.
“It’s pretty vital crossroads in my career. We’ll see what happens.”
He added: “It’s such a delicate balance, you can’t wait too long, because any door which might be open, might become closed because the club has to make a decision.
“But you don’t want to jump the gun and sign for a club and a week later something really good pops up which wouldn’t be a perfect fit.
“It’s a balancing act and a bit of a waiting game. It’s a bit nerve-wracking but also exciting.”1 comment