Socceroos ace Nikita Rukavytsya adds firepower to Western United attack

Nikita Rukavytsya Western United

Socceroos star Nikita Rukavytsya will add proven firepower to Western United’s attack in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men after signing a one-year deal with the Club.

Rukavytsya has collected 23 Socceroos caps spanning three different decades from his debut in 2009 to his latest appearance in 2021, testament to his consistency and continued quality. Two of his caps came at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa with substitute appearances against Germany and Ghana.

The pacey attacker was also a constant through various youth teams at international level and played in all three matches for the Olyroos at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

One of those appearances came against eventual Gold Medal winners Argentina, boasting the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero in their ranks.

Rukavytsya would go on to play against Messi again some 14 years later when his Maccabi Haifa side reached the UEFA Champions League group stage last season. Rukavytsya featured in all six group stage matches against Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain, Italian giants Juventus and Portuguese heavyweight Benfica.

Rukavytsya has shone for Maccabi Haifa in Israel’s Ligat ha’Al for the best part of the last seven years, winning two golden boots and two league titles while also winning the Israel State Cup with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, where he spent one season in between two spells at Maccabi.

After putting pen to paper to join the Green and Black, Rukavytsya said he was looking forward to returning to Australia and helping the side challenge at the top of the league.

“I’m excited for this season. It’s a relatively fresh club but it already tasted success a few years ago and I’m looking forward to having a successful season,” he said.

“My main goal this season is to give my experience, quality and my 100{f7db6ede402d28fb1a12606cc06d4603a4dfa924029062dcec9858e87a1c3778} to the Club. From what I’ve heard, there are great people and everyone who’s involved with the Club, and the fans.

“So hopefully we can have a successful season and make everyone and the fans happy.”

Western United Head Coach John Aloisi said Rukavytsya’s introduction to the side would add significant quality on the pitch and invaluable leadership off it.

“Nikita is a fantastic signing for us. He has shown his ability to score and assist at a high rate across the world and we look forward to him bringing his talent into our team,” he said.

“His experience in big leagues and competitions across the world will be important for us and we are equally buoyant about the impact he will be able to have on our young core of players.

“With pace and quality up front, a great work ethic and fantastic leadership, we are confident Nikita will excite our fans this season and help us achieve our goals.”

A trophy-laden career has seen Rukavytsya lift the Dutch Eredivisie title with FC Twente and the 2. Bundesliga crown on two occasions with Hertha Berlin alongside his honours in Israel.

Overall, Rukavytsya has played over 400 games in club football and has an impressive production rate across his career with more than 150 combined goals and assists.

While naturally a centre-forward, Rukavystya has also excelled on either wing at different stages of his career with blistering speed and a brilliant ability to pick out a teammate with a pass.

Rukavytsya will hope to bring those qualities to the Green and Black as the side charts an ascension up the Isuzu UTE A-League table this season.