ON THIS DAY: VIDUKA SIGNS UP

ON THIS DAY: VIDUKA SIGNS UP

15 years ago today, Australian forward Mark Viduka joined United...

On this day 15 years ago, striker Mark Viduka was signed from Celtic as David O'Leary looked to bolster his attacking options ahead of Leeds' UEFA Champions League adventure.

The big Australian cost a then club-record £6 million and it proved to be money well spent, as he scored 72 times in 166 appearances during his four-year stay at Elland Road.

His sheer goalscoring exploits and wonderful ability to hold the ball up and bring team mates into play made “Big Dukes” a firm favourite among the United faithful, with whom he will always be remembered for scoring all four in the thrilling 4-3 victory over Liverpool in November 2000.

Viduka began his career with Melbourne Knights and Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Celtic, where he attracted the attention of O'Leary after scoring 27 goals in his first full campaign at Celtic Park - earning him the SPFA Player's Player of the Year award.

He hit the ground running during his first season in England, establishing a formidable partnership with Alan Smith as his 22 goals helped his new club finish fourth in the Premier League and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

His impressive form continued the following campaign with 16 in all competitions, including the winner over Arsenal at Highbury as Leeds finished fifth, and he shone during a difficult 2002/03 season under Terry Venables and Peter Reid with another 22 strikes.

These included a hat-trick in the 6-1 mauling of Charlton Athletic, as well as another deciding goal at Arsenal which secured United's top-flight status.

He bagged a further 12 in his final year at Elland Road, including a late winner from the penalty spot against Manchester City, but could not prevent them from sliding through the trapdoor this time around.

With many big-named players leaving the club following relegation, Viduka was snapped up by Middlesbrough and went on to play a pivotal role in their run to the final of the 2006 UEFA Cup.

He finished his professional career with Newcastle United and was inducted into the Football Federation Australia's Hall of Fame in 2014, having scored 11 goals in 43 games for his country and captained them in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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