Australian striker Eli Babalj has returned to Melbourne Heart until the end of the 2013/14 A-League season.
The 20-year-old signed for Red Star Belgrade in June, after finishing top-scorer for Heart last season with nine A-League goals, but has struggled for first-team opportunities and the Serbian giants have failed to pay the whole transfer fee agreed allowing Heart to recall the centre-forward.
Babalj signed for Heart in their inaugural season as a 17-year-old and coach John Aloisi was excited to have the talented youngster back on board.
“It’s great to have Eli back; his contribution last season was outstanding and his hunger to do well and succeed is second to none,” Aloisi said.
“He might be available for this Saturday’s match against the Wanderers, but if not, he will still give us a huge boost for the rest of the season.”
Heart CEO Scott Munn praised Red Star for their conduct and echoed Aloisi’s sentiments.
“The club thanks Red Star for its cooperation in this matter,” he said.
“While it is unfortunate that Eli’s foray into professional football in Serbia did not work out, we look forward to seeing him back in the red and white of Melbourne Heart again.”
Babalj requires an international clearance to be processed before playing for Heart and the club hope it will be granted before their clash against the Wanderers.