Viduka to return to Australia

SYDNEY - Former Australia captain Mark Viduka is planning to return home after deciding to call time on his European career, the striker's manager said on Saturday.

Viduka left Australia in 1995 to play in Croatia and has spent the last decade in Britain but wants to return home after he was released by Newcastle United when they relegated from the English Premier League last season.

"I can confirm that Mark will not be seeking another contract in England or Europe and is coming home to Australia to live," his agent Steve Kutner told the Australian football website theworldgame.com.au.

"He's about to enter a new phase in his life and whether that includes playing again in Australia I am not sure.

"He's had a superb 11 years or so in the UK and he's made his mind up to now move on. Mark has other priorities now and wants to take his life in a different direction."

Viduka, 33, is one of Australia's best known and successful strikers, playing for Croatia Zagreb, Celtic, Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

He also represented Australia 43 times and led the Socceroos to the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.