No place like home for a familiar face at City

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Very few South Australians would openly call Melbourne home, but this generalisation certainly does not apply to Ben Garuccio.

After spending two seasons at Scotland’s Heart of Midlothian, the 25-year-old has returned to the club where his professional career began. Now, he is looking to bounce back to his best at Melbourne City.

Initially, Garuccio’s European adventure began with a promising 23 appearances and five goal contributions in his first season for the Scottish club.

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However, in his second campaign a horrific ACL injury limited the fullback to only six games and turned the entire experience sour.

“That made life really difficult,” he said.

“I did not play as much football as I would have liked after coming back from my knee [injury].”

On top of troubles with limited playing time, his team also did not perform. Resulting in a new head coach, which further added to the growing uncertainty heading into Garuccio’s third season at Hearts.

“The club got relegated and we were going to play in the second division,” he said.

“I didn’t know how much I was going to be in his plans.”

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In the end, the decision to depart Scotland was mutual despite still having a year left on the contract.

“It was whether I wanted to stay over there and potentially not play in the second division or come back here and have better opportunities,” Garrucio said.

“It was a better decision to come back here.”

Considering the eventual spread of COVID-19 across Europe, Garuccio is even more glad to be back in the A-League.

“Australia is doing a lot better with COVID, so right now it definitely seems like a good decision that I’ve made,” he said.

Despite primarily looking for playing time, joining City for a second stint was also driven by ambition. Garuccio wanted to sign for an A-League contender and City were just coming off a grand final appearance.

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Familiar faces in Patrick Kisnorbo, Tom Glover and Jamie Maclaren also played a part.

“It’s an amazing set-up here. I also know quite a lot of the boys,” Garuccio said.

“It was a fairly easy decision to come back to Melbourne.

“I spoke to Tom Glover. I spoke to him a lot about everything and he said really good things about the club and made my decision easier.

“Familiarity helps.”

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Viewing Melbourne as home helps make matters easier off-field too, as he said he considered the city his home and where he hoped to settle one day.

Now the 25-year-old is looking to put his injury-struck European experience behind him and get the most out of his football.

“I’ve been out for a year with injury and the main thing for me is to stay fit for as long as possible,” he said.

“I would love to be a part of the first A-League title.”

City’s pursuit of their first ever Premiership continues on Tuesday against Sydney FC.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City

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Bogdan Vlasyuk
Total football fanatic. Supporter of the Melbourne Victory and Dynamo Kyiv 🙂