New Melbourne Victory star Ola Toivonen is ready to embark on a Hyundai A-League ‘adventure’ with the intention of winning his first championship.
The Sweden international is set to link up with Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda in the defending champions' attack in what could potentially be one of the most thrilling forward lines in the country.
With 14 goals in his 64 international games for Sweden, including one against then-World Champions Germany at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Toivonen brings with him a wealth of experience from the European and international stage, but there's one thing that's always eluded him.
The one that got away
Following spells at Degerfors IF, Örgryte IS and Malmö FF in Sweden, PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands and French clubs Rennes and Toulouse, as well as a loan with Sunderland in the Premier League, one thing missing from the 32-year-old’s career achievements is a league winner’s medal.
PSV lifted the Eredivise title six times in eight years before Toivonen arrived in 2009 but were unable to capture the trophy in Toivonen's four-and-half years in Eindhoven.
During Toivonen's time in the Netherlands, PSV were never more than eight points from glory, coming closest in 2010-11 when they finished four points behind Ajax of Amsterdam. Toivonen, however, did capture a Dutch FA Cup and Super Cup medal.
Meanwhile, Malmö sealed the 2010 Allsvenskan championship after his departure and, coincidentally, PSV coach Philip Cocu guided the Red and Whites to the crown in the year after Toivonen left for France.
Setting sail for Asia
Victory will be launching a continental quest of their own into the AFC Champions League next season after they clinched their fourth Hyundai A-League championship in 2017/18 with a 1-0 grand final triumph against Newcastle Jets in May.
Kevin Muscat’s side are preparing to make their sixth appearance on the Asian continent; their best ever performance being a trip to the Round of 16 in 2016.
Toivonen, who has signed a two-year deal with Victory, is ready to challenge on both fronts in the upcoming campaign and secure the trophy that has long eluded him.
“I know Melbourne Victory is a big club in Australia, they won the Championship last year and they’re playing in the Champions League,” Toivonen said.
“If you go on an adventure, you want the possibility of winning, you want to win something.
“With the squad that has been assembled, including Keisuke [Honda], Georg [Niedermeier] and myself, I think we can do some good things this year.”