Vukovic makes surprise exit from Genk

Danny Vukovic in action for Genk Source: Getty Images

Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has made a sudden exit from Belgian side Racing Club Genk to come back to Australia, but could potentially return to play in Europe next season.

Vukovic lost his place in the starting Genk eleven last month to rival keeper Maarten Vandevoordt and with his deal up at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, and his wife pregnant in Australia, the Socceroo has been released immediately.

“His contract was up in the summer and the club decided to put faith in a very talented young goalkeeper,” Vukovic’s agent Mikkel Beck told The World Game.

“Danny always wanted a new challenge this coming summer anyway. And he is becoming a father very soon for the second time so the club let him go home a bit earlier than planned to be with his wife and be there for the birth of his child.

“A great gesture by the club we feel.”

The Australian international posted on Instagram on Saturday: “Thank you for all the messages. I appreciate them all, very difficult to reply but I’ll try my best to reply in the next few days.

“I am very busy trying to pack up my house before I leave. I had the time of my life here in Genk and it was a dream come true in so many ways.

“I’ll be back one day. Take care.”

Vukovic joined Genk in 2017 from Sydney FC and has made more than 100 appearances for the Belgian Pro League club.

The 35-year-old won the title and Super Cup with the Blauw-Wit in 2019, and was named Genk’s player of the year in his debut season. This season, the keeper has played 24 games despite battling COVID-19 last year.

Beck said Vukovic has not signed with a club in the A-League and will consider a return to Europe, as well as options in Asia and Australia, for the 2021-22 season.

“We’re taking our time to find the right next club,” he said.

“We are keeping all options open for the moment. It could be Europe, the Middle East, Asia or Australia. We will take our time to find the right club.”

Vukovic started his career with Parramatta Power in the NSL in 2002 and has had spells in the A-League with Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix, Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and the Sky Blues, along with stints in Turkey and Japan.

The shot-stopper debuted for the Socceroos in 2018 and has earned three international caps.

Vukovic has been approached for comment.