Spotted by assistant coach Rado Vidosic while watching his son Dario play for Armenia Bielefeld earlier, Besart Berisha’s move to join the Hyundai A-League Champions in August was rather surprising to some Brisbane Roar fans.
Spotted by assistant coach Rado Vidosic while watching his son Dario play for Armenia Bielefeld earlier, Besart Berisha-s move to join the Hyundai A-League Champions in August was rather surprising to some Brisbane Roar fans.
However, just two matches into his Hyundai A-League career, Berisha has already proven he wants to make his time in Australia count and displayed his goal-poaching abilities on Saturday night against Sydney FC by netting the first goal in the 2-0 win.
His ecstatic expression following his maiden goal told the story and Berisha says he couldn-t be happier to be in Brisbane, despite the huge lifestyle change experienced by him, his wife and his 16-month old son.
1. What was going through your when you scored your first A-League goal?
I just feel like all the pressure on me was off. I put a lot of pressure on me and I didn-t know when I would score my first goal, the first game or maybe ten games. I was just really happy, all the pressure is gone and I-m looking forward to scoring my next goal, which I hope is soon.
2. What made you sign for Brisbane Roar and was it an easy decision?
I-ll say it like this, it wasn-t easy because it is so far away from Europe but when I heard how Brisbane is and how they play, I also saw some replays of some games, and looked at the stadium… Everything in my head made me sure I wanted to come here and I want to enjoy Brisbane.
3. Did you feel any extra pressure coming into a squad that has such an exquisite record, the unbeaten streak and being champions as well?
When I heard about the record, for me, I was thinking “oh my god, this is unbelievable that they-ve done this” but now I know. I was excited to come and to enjoy this team that has had so much success. For me, and each player, it-s a big challenge because we all want to have success. I was a little bit surprised because this team had such an unbelievable season but it was also a motivator from my side to come here to enjoy this team because they are strong. I don-t have to lose, we want to win. The team is strong and I want to be strong too.
4. How does Ange compare to other managers you have worked with?
I was really, really surprised about the way Ange thinks, the way he trains us - I have never had this before. I am really glad it is like this because I am feeling good. Ange knows exactly what he wants and he did it right with me, that-s why I was successful on the weekend, I scored a goal and I feel really good. I think training is great, it is always fun to come to training. I-ll have to be honest, I didn-t always enjoy going to training in Germany but now I always look forward to training because I have fun. Ange sees the small things, which is really important as a player. He doesn-t just see me as scorer of goals, he sees everything and that-s important, it-s what I really respect and I enjoy it.
5. Do you think by playing well in Australia you can break back into the Albanian national side? Do you still want to play for Albania?
To play for the Albanian national team is always good because I am proud to be Albanian and I am proud to play for Albania. Last year wasn-t really good for me because I wasn-t in the squad but each time they call me, I am always happy to give my maximum for Albania. It is a great feeling if you play for your country and it always makes me proud to be a part of the national team. I hope always, of course, to use my time in Brisbane because I think I can be really strong here in Brisbane and hopefully that will lead to some good games for Albania.
6. What surprised you the most about Australia when you got here?
The most surprising thing for me, because we are not used to seeing animals on the street in Germany, was when I saw a lizard. I wanted to call the police because I wasn-t used to seeing it! I thought it was dangerous but the players told me not to call the police. I just ran past it twenty yards away and hoped he didn-t catch me! Even if he just moved, I would have run away.
7. How are you enjoying the different lifestyle of Australia and do you ever get homesick?
At first I did, but it was so quick that I started to enjoy Brisbane so much, it-s just great. You can do so many things here and the people are so good. I really enjoy it, the weather is fantastic but to be honest, the most important thing is football and the football is amazing here in Brisbane. I enjoy it like never before, which is important, and I feel like home. My wife and son like it here too, especially my son. Because of all the water, he can go to the beach, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast or even Southbank. When he goes in the water, he never comes out and he enjoys it every day - water, water, water.
8. Who is the best player you've ever played with and why?
I can straight away say Rafael van der Vaart. I think Rafael is not just a fantastic player but a fantastic person because he helped me a lot when I was a young player. He said some things that I really needed to hear when I was beginning my career. He-s not just a great football player, he-s a great person and I am really glad he is my friend, he-s just a fantastic friend.
9. Who is the best player you-ve played against and why? I think it-s maybe Cristiano Ronaldo, I played against him when he was playing for Portugal national team. You can see he-s just a great footballer, you can see each year that he scores goals and has great games so he-s the one, the hardest player I-ve played against.
10. Brisbane Roar have another big game this Friday night against Gold Coast United. What did you think of the stadium and the fans after your first home game against Central Coast Mariners?
I think it was really, really, really good to play in the stadium because the stadium is beautiful, the supporters are making noise and you can see that they having fun and they enjoy seeing us playing. You can feel this on the field and to be honest, I really can-t wait to play my next game at Suncorp Stadium because I enjoyed it a lot. But now, I will enjoy it more because it is a special game so like I said before, I just can-t wait to start the next game.