Football 1 year ago

Berisha ponders Albania, Australia tie-up

  • Berisha ponders Albania, Australia tie-up

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 03: Besart Berisha of the Victory looks on during the AFC Champions League match between Melbourne Victory and Gamba Osaka at AAMI Park on May 3, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

He still holds out hope of representing Albania at this year's European Championships, but it's the possibility of Besart Berisha's switch of allegiances that has his A-League club Melbourne Victory excited.

The marksman is considering taking the pledge and becoming an Australian citizen between now and the start of the next campaign.

It would mean coach Kevin Muscat would have another free slot for an international player as he grapples with a major re-shaping of his squad this off-season.

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Foreign stars Kosta Barbarouses and Matthieu Delpierre will leave the club after this month's Asian Champions League matches with South Korean side Jeonbuk Motors, with Brazilian talent Gui Finkler already departed.

Berisha, who will begin his sixth A-League campaign next season after three with Brisbane Roar and two with Victory, said he was looking at making his Australian stay official.

"I am now five years here and I really enjoy every moment since day one," he said.

"I would love to be an Aussie, I enjoy myself here and this is the most important.

"If I'm able to get (citizenship) I will take it. I think being Australian is good."

Any switch of allegiances, which wouldn't change the fact he is ineligible to play for the Socceroos, would come after next month's Euros - the first major tournament Albania has qualified for.

Berisha has 17 caps for Albania to his name, but hasn't turned out for them since moving to the A-League, citing the long distance as reason for knocking back previous advances from the national team.

The 30-year-old marksman said he was totally focussed on Victory's efforts to reach the last eight in Asia, but would then be open to receiving the call to revive his international career.

"If there is coming something after the Champions League, let's see what happens," he said.

"If they call me I am ready for them. If not, I wish them good luck."

The always-passionate forward urged his teammates to keep the dream alive in the Champions League, and for Victory fans to salute Archie Thompson in his last home game for the club next Tuesday night.

"It's going to be a very special game with him and I think everyone at the club," he said.

"I really hope a lot of supporters will turn up. He's a legend.

"The boys are really excited to go to this game. We want to dream. We want to keep going.

"We are still hungry ... we didn't achieve what we wanted in the A-League.

"We have to dream because this is the Champions League and it's not coming every year."

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