Marco Tilio completes record move to Scottish champs Celtic & here are the details

Socceroo Marco Tilio will join countryman Harry Kewell at Celtic in a record transfer for the A-Leagues.

Melbourne City star Marco Tilio has sealed an historic move to Celtic, signing a five-year deal and becoming the record outbound transfer from Australia, with the fee understood to be in excess of $2 million AUD.

Former City teammate Jordan Bos had only broken that record in May when he signed a deal to join Westerlo in Belgium’s top flight but that has now been eclipsed by his fellow Socceroo.

Tilio makes the move to Scottish champions Celtic, where he links up with Socceroos legend Harry Kewell, who remains on the coaching staff despite Ange Postecoglou’s switch to Tottenham and the arrival of Brendan Rodgers.

He is the latest Aussie to play for Celtic, following in the footsteps of recently retired former Socceroos teammate Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, Scott McDonald and Mark Viduka – to name a few.

It means City trio Tilio, Bos and Aiden O’Neill (Standard Liege) have all earned big transfers to Europe, while Socceroo Thomas Glover has departed Melbourne and poised to land a new club abroad.

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“It is with mixed emotions that I leave City,” Tilio said in a club statement. “I know that I will miss everyone at the club, and I thank everyone who both trusted me, helped me to grow and develop into who I am as a player and a person.

“I would especially like to thank Brad (Rowse – City CEO), Michael (Petrillo, City director of football), Patrick (Kisnorbo – former City head coach) and Rado (Visodic – current City head coach) for their support and guidance and all my teammates at the club. I want to thank the fans for their support and making me feel at home from my first day at the club.

“I’m really excited about my new challenge at Celtic, and I hope I can make everyone back home proud of me.”

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The 21-year-old had long been tipped to make the move abroad thanks to his exploits with three-time reigning premiers City in the A-Leagues.

Tilio himself had also flagged the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy as possible destinations.

But the A-Leagues sensation will join a Celtic side coming off a domestic treble and with new coach Brendan Rodgers at the helm after Australian trailblazer Postecoglou was lured to Premier League giants Tottenham.

And Tilio will get the chance to test himself against the best in the UEFA Champions League, with Celtic in the group stage again in 2023-24.

A five-time Socceroo who was in the squad for the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, Tilio made his debut for Sydney FC in 2019 and won a Premiership but it is in Melbourne, where the speedy forward truly shined.

He won three consecutive Premierships and a Championship in 2020-21, but more significant was his consistent progress as he forced his way into a frontline boasting the A-Leagues’ all-time leading scorer Jamie Maclaren and Socceroo Mathew Leckie.

After two goals in his first season with City and five the following campaign, Tilio took his game to a new level with 10 goals in 2022-23, to go with five assists as the premiers reached the Grand Final.

City director of football Michael Petrillo hailed the outgoing City star as a special player with all the makings of a top-level footballing talent.

“Since joining Melbourne City, Marco’s progression has been impressive,” Petrillo said. “He arrived as a player with enormous potential, and whilst at City, he has taken great strides in developing the physical and tactical areas of his game.

“With great character and hard work, Marco has kept improving, and has developed his game to a high level which has culminated in his Socceroo debut. I’m so proud that all the objectives we set with him he has achieved, and we will continue to follow his progress with great interest.

“Marco is a great young man and incredible talent for Australia and although we will miss him, both on and off the pitch, it’s a special feeling to be able to help a player of his ability and ambition to play for one of the biggest clubs in world football.”

City CEO Brad Rowse added: “Marco’s record-breaking transfer is a testament to the team we have here in Melbourne and shows there is no better place for Australia’s young players to continue their development and realise their dreams.

“Marco joins an exciting list of players who have come through the ranks at City and are now playing in some of Europe’s top leagues. It’s exciting for the player and for our fans, who will hopefully get to see one of our own playing regularly in the Scottish Premiership and the Champions League next season.”