Torpedo Moscow confirm signing of Brisbane defender Ivan Franjic

Newly promoted Russian Premier League side Torpedo Moscow have confirmed within the last 24 hours the signings of two new players, including Brisbane Roar right back Ivan Franjic. Brisbane are yet to confirm the news, but conformation from the Russian side came through last night in a series of tweets.

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Franjic leaves Brisbane as the clubs longest serving playing having signed for Brisbane in 2009 and went on to make 122 appearances (119 start, 3 sub) in Brisbane colours, contributing 11 goals and over that time he’s seen and done it all here in Brisbane. Franjic offcourse arrived in Brisbane at arguably the lowest point in the teams nine year history early in the 200-10 season where the team was going through a rough spell in form and poor discipline which lead to the sacking of Frank Farina. It was however Farina who signed Franjic – initially as an injury replacement for Massimo Murdocca after Melbourne signed Robbie Kruse, before turning that into a full time contract a few weeks later- and also game him his debut in six of the 2009-10 season ; a 3-0 win in Newcastle.

Franjic quickly won the right back spot under new manager Ange Postecoglou and became a key part of the clubs historic double winning team in 2010-11 just 12 months later. The transformation in the team as a whole was stunning, but so was the emergence of an apprentice carpenter plucked from the VPL who became the league’s best right back and was in almost all of the teams of the season. That was far from the end of the improvement however, with a more consistent Ivan playing in all but one of Brisbane’s games in the 2011-12 season, once again playing a key role in a championship side.

Despite Brisbane as a whole suffering a hangover following the departure of Postecoglou in 2012, Ivan was on the teams’ better performers in the 2012-13 season, and was a key part of the late season revival, showing his versatility by playing on the right wing and chipping in with some key goals. That versatility remained on show throughout the season just gone, with Franjic spending time at right back, right wing, centre midfield and even at times over on the left wing, a season that earned him a spot in the PFA team of the year for the second time.

The consistency was bound to be noticed by the national team eventually, and Franjic first got his chance in the national team in the East Asian Cup campaign- first in the qualifiers and then the tournament itself. Despite holding his own in what was an inexperienced side, Franjic was overlooked for the inglorious end of the Holger Osieck era, but was amongst the first players to be added to the Socceroos mix once Postecoglou became Socceroos boss 10 months ago. Solid showings against Costa Rica and against Chile in the World Cup finals have cemented him as the undisputed first choice right back moving forward.

The fact that Franjic, now 26, is moving on this off-season shouldn’t be much of a surprise as there’s been plenty of rumours of interested clubs both in Europe and Asia for a while now, and being established a member of the national side this is the perfect time to move on. Ivan leaves Brisbane having seen the remarkable transformation here in Brisbane, and leaves having won almost everything there is to win here in Australia. We might even see him back in Brisbane colours one day, you never know. Best of luck Ivan, and thanks for some amazing memories.

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