Melbourne Victory lure Aussie prodigy back to the A-Leagues on three-year deal

Ryan Teague is returning to Australia after the Olyroos midfielder signed a three-year deal with Melbourne Victory in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Former Sydney FC prospect Teague played for the Olyroos on Wednesday morning (AEST) as they qualified for the 2024 AFC Under-23 Asian cup and he is heading back Down Under having spent the past three seasons at Portuguese side FC Famalicao.

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The 21-year-old emerged from Sydney’s talented youth team and made his A-League Men debut in December 2019 before signing for Famalicao the following month.

While he did not make a league appearance, Teague did debut for the club in a 2021 Taça da Liga fixture before spending time on loan at Liga Portugal 2 outfit Sporting da Covilha.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Melbourne Victory for the season ahead and can’t wait to get started,” Teague said.

“I had a great experience in Europe and this opportunity to return to Australia is important for me to test myself consistently in the A-League and produce at a high level for Melbourne Victory.

“Melbourne Victory is a club that expects the best from everyone at every level and I’m looking forward to producing this week-in, week-out for the team and the fans on the field.”

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Teague has spent the past three seasons chasing his European dream.

The Sydney FC academy graduate made the move to Europe with the help of super agent Jorge Mendes who, through his agency GestiFute, boasts a portfolio including Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota, Bernardo Silva, James Rodriguez and many more of the world’s footballing elite.

Teague was spotted by Mendes whilst captaining Australia through the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2019 – something he describes as “a big privilege”.

Mendes’ interest led to Teague signing with the GestiFute agency, and making the move to Portuguese first-division side FC Famalicao in 2020. However, he is now with Australian-based Cove Agency.

Teague’s arrival also continues the Victory overhaul after they failed to qualify for the finals last season.

Semi-finalists in 2021-22 and Australia Cup champions, Victory went on to end 2022-23 second from bottom.

Since then, Tony Popovic has brought in Daniel Arzani (Macarthur FC)Adama Traore (Western Sydney Wanderers)Zinedine Machach (Ionikos Nikeas), Franco Lino (scholarship contract), Joshua Inserra (scholarship contract), Jordi Valadon (scholarship contract), Fabian Monge (APIA Leichhardt) and Christian Siciliano (promoted to senior team).

Roderick Miranda and Leigh Broxham have re-signed, while  Matt Acton (Brisbane Roar), Lleyton Brooks, Kike Lopez (Kadete), Tomi JuricNani (Adana Demirspor)George Timotheou (Gunghalin United), Josh Brillante (Western Sydney Wanderers)Will Wilson (Central Coast Mariners), Fernando Romero (end of loan) and Bruce Kamau have departed.

“We’re pleased to have Ryan join us at Melbourne Victory for the upcoming season,” said head coach Popovic.

“Ryan is an exciting, young midfielder who has been an important member and leader at youth international level and we believe he can be an influential contributor to the squad this season.”