Football: Viduka wants taste of Spain

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The Independent Online
MARK VIDUKA, the controversial Celtic striker, is ready to pack his bags again - but not until his Parkhead contract is complete.

Viduka stunned the Scottish Premier League title chasers by walking out on them almost immediately following his pounds 3m transfer from Croatia Zagreb. The Australian-born player flew home to Melbourne claiming he was too stressed to play.

However, since his return Viduka has hit four goals in two games as Celtic keep up their vain pursuit of Rangers at the top of the table. But the row over his transfer still continues, with the Celtic owner Fergus McCann steadfastly refusing to pay the fee in one lump sum.

"I hope I can continue to score a lot of goals and improve so that I might interest a club in Spain when my contract is finished," said the 23-year-old, who will play up front alongside Henrik Larsson against Kilmarnock tomorrow. "I have always thought the Spanish League to be a very interesting one and I already love the culture of the country. I like bullfights and Flamenco and the people themselves, who seem to be very similar to Croatians.

"I have several friends who have played there such as Robert Prosinecki and Goran Juric, and another friend, Igor Cvitanovic, is still at Real Sociedad. They all say it would suit my style and I would love the chance to live there."

The American cable TV company NTL is to sponsor Rangers and Celtic to the tune of pounds 13m over the next four years. This unique deal involving the Old Firm was revealed at a news conference in Glasgow yesterday. The shirt sponsorship deal far exceeds anything seen in Scottish football and the money will be split between both clubs.

The NTL managing director, Frank Cullen, said: "We are delighted to be associated with both clubs, two of Europe's biggest and most famous clubs."

Rangers' current deal with Scottish and Newcastle Breweries expires this season, while Celtic have a further season remaining with their sponsors, Umbro. The clubs have shared the same sponsor, C R Smith, in the past.