41 days to go: Mark Viduka's FIFA World Cup story

There are just seven weeks to go until Russia 2018 and as part of our countdown to the tournament, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a FIFA World Cup.

The latest member on our list is the sublimely talented Mark Viduka, one of four FIFA World Cup captains in the national team's history.

READ: FIFA World Cup: Countdown for the Caltex Socceroos

Cap number: 402

World Cups played at: 2006

Position: Striker

Age at World Cup: 30 (now aged 42)

Clubs played for:

Melbourne Knights, Dinamo Zagreb, Celtic, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United

Best World Cup moment:

Viduka was named captain by Guus Hiddink in September 2005 and skippered the team throughout all four matches of its first FIFA World Cup appearance in 32 years.

His most unique experience undoubtedly came in leading Australia against Croatia, the nation of his proud heritage, in the final group game.

Viduka's performance was pivotal in securing the 2-2 draw required to advance as he posed constant problems to good friend Stjepan Tomas and fellow former Melbourne Knights player Josip Simunic.

Australia Croatia
Viduka celebrates Harry Kewell's vital equaliser.

Career highlight:

Big, strong and supremely technical, 'Dukes' scored goals wherever he went and racked up accolades just as easily.

He won the Johnny Warren Medal in each of his two full seasons with Melbourne Knights, fired Dinamo Zagreb to three successive doubles, won the Players' Player of the Year award in Scotland and later netted six times in Middlesbrough's run to the 2006 UEFA Cup final.

But arguably his best spell came at Leeds United, where he scored 72 goals across a prolific four-season stint that included a Champions League semi-final berth.

In his maiden Premier League campaign, Viduka famously scored all four of the Whites' goals in a 4-3 victory over Liverpool.

Post-playing career:

Since retiring, Viduka has split his time between Zagreb and Melbourne, where he lives with his family.

He received the PFA Alex Tobin OAM Medal for his contribution to the game in Australia, which has included lending his wealth of experience to Knights juniors.

Additionally, the Mark Viduka Medal is now awarded to the player judged best afield in the FFA Cup final.

Did you know?

Viduka had contract offers from a Japanese club and German giants Borussia Dortmund prior to leaving Melbourne Knights.

But he was ultimately swayed to sign for Dinamo Zagreb by Croatia's then-president Franjo Tudjman, who met with the young striker during on an official visit to Australia and convinced him to join the club of which he was also president.