Culina to lead Gold Coast

Socceroos star Jason Culina has been officially unveiled as Gold Coast United's inaugural marquee signing.

Socceroos star Jason Culina has been officially unveiled as Gold Coast United's inaugural marquee signing.

Billionaire owner Clive Palmer revealed at the club's launch at Skilled Park that the versatile PSV Eindhoven midfielder, a staple in Pim Verbeek's national side, would return home and lead the club in its debut season.

Speaking from the Netherlands, United's new signing and skipper-in-waiting said he was excited about the challenge ahead of him.

"When this offer from Gold Coast United first came about I had a long chat with Clive Palmer and Miron Bleiberg. They told me about their ambitions for the club and I spoke about what I hoped to achieve, so at the end of the day our ambitions matched up nicely," Culina said.

"The offer came at a great time as I was heading towards the end of my contract at PSV (Eindhoven) and I have come to a point in my career where I have achieved my goals in Europe. I've won three Championships with PSV, played in a World Cup, played 26 games in the UEFA Champions League and also played in the UEFA Cup, so I felt it was time to look at something else."

"Having done what I wanted to do in Europe I thought it would be a good time to give something back to Australian football, help to promote the sport, and at the same time, raise the level of the game in Australia."

"Gold Coast United is a great opportunity for me to do that and by coming back at a young age I am able to play at my best for the team and the Hyundai A-League. I believe I'm at my peak and I want to produce a very high standard of football."

Cullina has already set his sights on winning the Hyundai A-League in Gold Coast's debut season.

"Clive Palmer is a winner and a man who knows what he wants. He's made his ambitions for Gold Coast United very clear from day one and said our goal is to win the Hyundai A-League in our first season - and why not?"

"There is still a lot I want to achieve in the game - I still want to win trophies and play my best football in every game. In Europe you have to have a winning mentality and one of my aims is to bring that mentality to the Gold Coast."

Primed to become the new talisman for the Hyundai A-League, the Socceroo midfielder said he was ready for the role and the responsibility that accompanies it.

"There comes a point in your career where you have to take that extra responsibility and I'm certainly ready for that," he said.

"I've been a solid member of the Socceroos for quite a few years now and I'm used to playing at the highest level. If I can be the player who is a catalyst for raising standards in the Hyundai A-League then that's fine by me; it's what I want to achieve and the outcome we are all hoping for."

Palmer said that it's all part of a plan which he expects will see Gold Coast challenging for the A-League championship in its first year.

"Some people scoffed six months ago when we said we intended to win the title in our first season, since then we have set about building a squad and team to achieve our aims," Palmer said.

"Jason wanted to come back to Australia to be the No.1 player in the country and show the Australian public his considerable talents we intend to provide him with the environment to showcase his ability."

"He has enjoyed an exciting career so far and his future is just as exciting."

Palmer also confirmed that the club had secured Hartlepool striker Brad Porter, who has played a handful of Socceroos games, as well as big Dutch defender Bas Van den Brink.

Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg believed the sky was the limit in terms of superstardom for Culina, going so far as to suggest he could be Lord Mayor of the Gold Coast after a playing career.

"Can you imagine what he will generate here? He hasn't even come and the paper has not stopped talking about him, that's an opportunity of a lifetime," Bleiberg said.

"In the first game I will have two ton weight on my shoulder and Jason will have three ton on his shoulders and that's probably what attracted him."

Bleiberg remained relatively tightlipped about the role Culina would play on-field, but did hint that he will be used in a more attacking capacity.

"I remember Jason when he was 18, 19 and he was purely an attacking player, over the years in Holland, last time I saw him play he was a right fullback and he hated it."

"That's part of the answer for you, why he wants to comeback, maybe I promise him some things I can't say publicly."

Bleiberg said Culina ticked all the boxes as a marquee signing.

"Jason is a hard worker from one side and polished player from the other side, he had the combination, I didn't want to have someone who would just walk on the park."

"Jason, unlike a lot of footballers, he's a true professional … if I said 'let's go to the pub', he would find an excuse and tell me 'no Miron, I'm going to read a book'."