Sydney FC star Michael Zullo heaped praise on the Hyundai A-League after a record 61,880 fans turned out to see the Sydney Derby at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Zullo likened the event as being the same as some of the historic European derbies he played in during his time in Holland.
“Tonight was world class on all fronts,” the attacking left sided player told reporters after the game.
“We really don’t give enough credit to the A-League and what it has become in this country and I think we should be incredibly proud.
“Who would’ve thought we’d have a derby match in front of 60,000 people after 10-11 years?” he said.
“Derbies are derbies and our fans are just as passionate as any of the fans I played for in front of overseas.
“One that sticks out for me is when my club Utrecht would play Ajax Amsterdam. That has 100 years of history, yet tonight I think it was just as fierce and loud.”
Sydney FC keeper Danny Vukovic added: “It was unbelievable, one of the best things I’ve been a part. I’m proud of how far the game has come.
“I was there in the NSL days and saw all the things that were wrong with the game back then. And to see how far it’s come 12 years later. It was a great night for Australian football.”
As for the game, Zullo said each player contributed to the win for the Sky Blues on a famous night for the club who have made a statement of intent early in the season.
“I think the biggest thing tonight… derby matches are won and lost in the battle. And I think our midfield was exceptional,” said Zullo.
“Our centre backs, even the boys up top. Everyone won their personal battles. And from that, that kind of built a foundation which we then built on to counter-attack and score some brilliant goals.”
Zullo added he was delighted to be working in the environment created by coach Graham Arnold.