Fred returns to Melbourne, Victory confirm coach

Melbourne Heart have secured the services of former Melbourne Victory grand final hero Fred.The 32-year-old, who has spent the past four seasons win the MLS with DC United and the Philadelphia Union, has been lured back to the A-League by the Heart.

“I’m excited to play for Melbourne Heart now,” Fred told Fox Sports News live from Washington.

“I look forward to building very good things with my teammates over there.”

“I know they came eighth last year so I know about Alex Terra and the captain too, the goalkeeper, so I know some players over there. I read about this.”

Fred achieved great praise for his performances in his one season for Melbourne Victory in 2006-07, where he played a major role in the famous 6-0 grand final demolition of Adelaide United.

He left the Victory in controversial circumstances, taking up a big-money move to DC United. He scored 11 goals in his first spell with the club, before returning for a guest stint with Wellington Phoenix in 2008.

He then scored four goals in 25 games when out on loan with Philadelphia before returning to Washington for the end of the current season.

It is hoped Fred can feature in the playmaker role for the Heart, and help the development of fellow Brazilian Alex Terra after the departure of Josip Skoko, John Aloisi and Gerald Sibon following the club’s inaugural campaign.

In other A-League news, Melbourne Victory have confirmed that Mehmet Durakovic, the club’s caretaker coach for the past three months, has won the full-time role in charge of the club.

Durakovic oversaw the final five matches of Melbourne’s AFC Champions League campaign, leading them to a win, three draws and a loss after the sudden departure of foundation coach Ernie Merrick.

The 45-year-old had been Victory’s youth coach before being given his chance to audition for the job in the ACL, where his tactical nous won praise from those both inside and outside the club.

After an almost complete changing of the guard in the football department, Durakovic’s former South Melbourne and Socceroos team-mate Francis Awaritefe will take over as football director, the role vacated by Gary Cole.

The club is set to take on a very new-look this season having already signed a new goalkeeper, Tando Velaphi, two young attacking midfielders, Marco Rojas and Isaka Cernak, as well as a striker in Jean Carlos Solorzano.

But the biggest signing in the club’s history is still in the wings with Harry Kewell linked to the club in what would be his much-anticipated return to Australia.