Babalj Czechs in to land new European deal

Eli Babalj has turned down offers in South Korea and from Perth Glory to kick-start his career in the Czech Republic.

Eli Babalj Mlada Boleslav

Eli Babalj has agreed to join Mlada Boleslav Source: Getty Images

The strapping striker - who has two Australia caps to his name - will rejoin former Melbourne Heart team-mate Golgol Mebrahtu at Mlada Boleslav after agreeing terms on a two-year contract.

Babalj, 25, is hungry to make up for lost time after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury which ultimately led to his departure from AZ after three years on the Dutch club's books.

He suffered the injury while on loan at Adelaide United 18 months ago, and paid for his own rehab at a leading Antwerp clinic before returning to the Reds to see out the 2016-2017 season.

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Babalj, who was a free agent, is hoping his stop-start career catches light again at a club who have finished in the top four of the Czech top tier for the past four seasons.

However they crashed out of the UEFA Europa League against Albania's Skenderbeu Korce this week, and are just a game into the new season.

It's conceivable that Babalj could make his debut at home against Sparta Prague next week.

Once likened to a young Mark Viduka, the forward has struggled at times to carry that burden.

But his quality has rarely been in question and he will be relishing a fresh start with his body now back to full fitness and a point to prove to those who may have doubted him.

Babalj also spent a season with Red Star Belgrade and a loan stint with Trent Sainsbury's former club PEC Zwolle, who are coached now by his former Heart mentor John van't Schip.






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Published 5 August 2017 at 9:00am
By Dave Lewis