Victory to rise for Muscat

There is added incentive for Melbourne Victory when it takes on Sydney this weekend as captain Kevin Muscat becomes just the second Australian to make 500 league appearances.

There is added incentive for Melbourne Victory when it takes on Sydney this weekend as captain Kevin Muscat becomes just the second Australian to make 500 league appearances.

Muscat made his debut for Sunshine George Cross in the old NSL in 1989 and remained in Australia until 1996 when he went to England and played for Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton. He spent five years at Wolves and notched up 180 matches before moving to Scotland to play for Rangers and then back to England for a two-year stint at Milwall and then finally back home to Australia for the inaugural Hyundai A-League season.

Only defender Alex Tobin, who played in the NSL for 19 years from 1984 to 2004, has played more matches than Muscat at 522.

All the Melbourne players are keen to put in a special effort for Muscat at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, but in particular striker Archie Thompson, who has been alongside the 36-year-old at Victory since day one.

"The stats sort of speak for itself, when he is in our team and when he's leading our team we win more games than we lose and he's just been great for Melbourne Victory, great for the Socceroos," Thompson said.

"500 games it's a milestone in itself and I'm just happy that he's playing for us for that 500th game and not Sydney."

"His leadership qualities are just unbelievable, he's probably the best captain that I've ever had and just to have that leadership out there when the games on its edge, he can push the boys to go that extra metre and he's just been great for us and the club."

"He gets the boys pumped up and that's the quality of him as a captain and a leader, he gets the boys up and going and it's an added bonus for him this weekend because it is his 500th game and it's such an important game and I think he'll be relishing it."

Midfielder Tom Pondeljak has played with and against Muscat and he is delighted to be playing alongside him in his milestone game.

Pondeljak, who isn't that far behind Muscat at 411 league appearances, echoed Thompson's views on his leadership qualities.

"He's been such a strong leader for such a long time and obviously spent a lot of his career overseas and he deserves every accolade he gets and I'm really proud of what he has done, he's achieved some really high things in his football career and I think for him to get that 500th game in the Victory strip will mean a lot to him and the rest of the boys," he said.

"Kevin's great, he wears his heart on his sleeve and all the players know that and we know every time whatever he says, whatever he talks about he truly means it and he always gives 100 percent in whatever he does and the players will respond accordingly and I think we have over the time he's been captain of the Victory."

"He really takes the captains armband to a new level I think, he's probably that borderline - a bit of coaching, a bit of everything but I think that's the job of a captain to coach some of the players … I think he does a fantastic job and he leads the boys like no one else that I've known before."