Besart Berisha has professed his love for his adopted city ahead of his Melbourne Victory A-League debut on Friday.
Besart Berisha loves football, he loves Melbourne, and he can’t wait for the A-League season opener this Friday night.
The Albanian striker will tell you this a dozen times given the chance.
Thankfully for the 29-year-old, who signed for Victory in January as his former side Brisbane Roar were in the middle of their title charge, round one is around the corner.
Victory play Western Sydney Wanderers in a mouth-watering beginning to the new season, pitting him against the side Roar beat to win the title in May.
And if his season goes as well as his off-season move south, there will be plenty of goals to come in navy blue.
“It feels fantastic. Coming from Europe, it feels like home for me,” he said.
“It feels like this is my city. I grew up in Berlin so coming down with my family from the first day it feels like home.
“It’s like every second person is like me: they love this game.
“Here in this city, I can live my football.”
Just how Berisha would settle into Victory’s line-up was a key concern for the club, but seven goals in an unbeaten pre-season settled nerves about whether Victory’s great investment would pay off.
It has pleased Berisha too.
“Because I love this game so much, it’s so important to me, it’s very important to adapt very fast,” he said.
“I’m really happy at the moment, and to be honest if you don’t lose any games in pre-season, you should be happy.”
Much of his happiness comes down to a strong relationship between Berisha and new coach Kevin Muscat.
The pair could be football soulmates.
“I feel like I’ve got a good connection with him. We’re similar thinking players,” he said.
“For both of us, it’s so important this game, we take it very seriously every training.
“We really want to be perfect and try to work hard – and never take it easy.”
Naming New Zealand forward Kosta Barbarouses as one of his closest mates in his new side – “he’s a very funny guy” – it’s clearly so far, so good for Berisha.
His pronouncements of love are unlikely to make sweet reading to Brisbane Roar fans, who saw 48 goals in three seasons from the A-League’s best striker of recent seasons.
Worse still, he’s decided their place is below his new home.
“Everyone understands that Victory is the biggest club in Australia,” he said.