Mark Bresciano began his professional football career at the Victorian State League club Bulleen Lions, he also spent some time at the Australian Institute of Sport and then with Carlton the new National Soccer League club. The collection includes a Carlton 97-98 Year in Review members magazine where Mark is on the front in bottom right of the both the team line-up and in a separate action picture.
In 1999, Mark transferred to Empoli in the Italian Serie B. He would spend most of his club career in Italy, which also happens to be the home of Panini the largest producer of football stickers and cards in the world. Hence the collection comprises at least one club sticker but often three or four for every year he played in Italy.
At Empoli, in Serie B, he appeared on Panini stickers with a teammate on the same sticker. I have only shown his part of the sticker with the exception of the 2001-02 season where he is paired with his fellow Socceroo and Empoli teammate Vince Grella. At the end of the 01-02 Empoli were promoted to Serie A but Mark then transferred to Parma, another Serie A club.
Playing in Serie A meant there is at least one individual sticker each year and from the 2003-04 season multiple cards. Types of cards include paper, plastic and flashers. Unlike cards produced by other manufacturers, on the back of some of the Panini cards are details of his club playing career as shown in the 2005 Panini Parma card featured right.
After the 2006 World Cup Mark transferred to another Serie A club, Palmero. In addition to the standard Panini portrait stickers the collection includes an action sticker from the 2008-09 season where the same image was also used on the Panini “Real Action” card from that year. Probably the most interesting club item in the collection is a 2006-07 postcard produced in conjunction with a radio station. The card has a picture of the classic Mark Bresciano goal “Statue Celebration” pose. Similarly the only club programme in the Bresciano collection is a 2009 Palmero v Udinese that has thee Bresciano statue pose on the cover (Featured index card above). From his last season at Palmero, there is unusual a Panini Atomic round clear plastic card and a Metal Dog Tag card. In 2010-11, following another World Cup campaign Mark made to his final Serie A transfer to Lazio. The collection comprises three Lazio items including another “Atomic” clear plastic card.
For the 2011-12 season Mark moved to Al Nasr in the UAE Arabian Gulf League and the following year controversially to Al-Gharafa in the Qatar Stars League for the final three years of his club career. I am not aware of any cards and stickers that have been produced from the Middle East Leagues. However the collection includes an AFC 2102 Champions League group stage programme where he is included in a picture of a starting line-up.
Prior to his full international debut, Mark Bresciano represented Australia at youth level including the 2000 Sydney Olympic games. The collection includes the Official Football Programme from the Olympics and probably the most unusual item, a Victorian MET (Train) ticket with an action portrait of Mark. On 1st June 2001 Mark Bresciano made his full international debut in Australia’s opening Confederation Cup match against France. He played in all four Confederation Cup matches and the collection has the official FIFA Confederations Cup Tournament programme.
The first Socceroo Bresciano cards and stickers relate to the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. Panini and Topps stickers primarily feature portraits of Mark. There are three cards from the two sets of playing cards and a Hong Kong issued World Cup card. Probably the most unusual Bresciano item from the 2006 World Cup is a Luxor sticker with him pictured as a Koala. Post the World Cup Fairfax Newspapers issued tribute cards with medals and depending on the newspaper 15 or 20 cards were produced. Two of these cards are displayed in the collection.
Following the Socceroos success premium card manufacturer Futera, increased the number of cards that featured Australian players. There are six Bresciano Futera cards in the collection – two Heroes cards from 2009, two from the 2011 World Football Unique series and another two Hero cards from 2013. Pictured left is one the 2011 Futera Cards.
From 2007 to 2008 Select, Australia’s major sports card company produced A-League & Socceroo sets There are four Select Bresciano cards in the collection The 2010 World Cup saw the issue of more Socceroo cards and stickers including four Bresciano cards and six stickers. This time the most unusual item has Mark as Kangaroo on a One2Play Croatian produced sticker.
In 2013 SE Products and then from 2014 Tap’n Play produced A-League & Socceroo Sets. Tap’n Play’s 2013 set includes “Triple Threat” card together with six other Socceroos the Brazil World Cup would be their third. In the end it was only Mark and Tim Cahill that represented Australia at the Germany, South Africa and Brazil World Cups. The collection also includes a Bresciano card from a “one-off” FFA 30 Man Squad that was only available at a “Player Meet and Greet” the day after final send off game against South Africa in May 2014.
The 2015 Asian Cup saw Marks’ final appearances as a Socceroo. The collection includes a virtual FFA Opta card and a Chinese Magazine card taken from the Socceroos post final celebrations. The back of the Mark Bresciano card from the 2015 Tap’n Play Asian Cup Celebration set says it all, “…this gentlemen of the game will be sorely missed”.