SYDNEY, May 15 (Reuters) - Western Sydney Wanderers striker Tomi Juric and goalkeeper Ante Covic, who played integral roles in the A-League club winning last year’s Asian Champions League, were among 10 players released at the end of their contracts on Friday.
Juric scored four goals, including the only one in the two-legged final against Al Hilal, in last year’s triumphant campaign, while Covic’s goalkeeping was key to Wanderers becoming the first Australian side to win the title.
The other players to depart were Italian Iacopo La Rocca, strikers Kerem Bulut and Nikita Rukavytsya, midfielders Jason Trifiro, Nick Ward and Nick Kalmar and defenders Antony Golec and Adrian Madaschi.
Socceroo Juric, the subject of a reported offer worth $3 million a season from Chinese Super League Shanghai Shenhua last year, had already indicated that he would be on his way to pastures new.
“It is definitely a place I’ll keep close to my heart and I’d like to thank everyone for their time and support over the years and hopefully it is not the last time I will be in the Red & Black,” the 23-year-old said.
Covic, at 39, had hoped to secure another year at the club after helping Wanderers finish runners-up in the A-League in their first two seasons of existence.
Their third season, in which they juggled two separate Asian Champions League campaigns, a trip to Morocco for the FIFA Club World Cup as well as their domestic commitments, was not as successful and they finished ninth in the 10-team A-League.
“The players that helped us to win our AFC Champions League crown will forever be synonymous with this club and embedded in our history,” said Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas.
”In particular I would like to thank our foundation players Iacopo La Rocca, Ante Covic and Jason Trifiro for their contribution to the Wanderers from our inaugural season.
“These players have served this club with distinction on and off the field -- their contribution to the region, to the making of this club and to our on-field results cannot be diminished.” (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O‘Brien)