| PHOTO: Jim Webster |
The Melbourne Victory unveiled their latest recruits this morning with Francesco Stella, Jesse Makarounas and Scott Galloway all joining the two-time A-League Champions on two-and-a-half-year deals. Check out what they had to say this morning.
Stella, a former Rangers and Siena attacker, returned home after leaving for Italy as a sixteen-year-old and thought it was time to come back home.
“I’m originally from here (Melbourne) and I’ve been away for a long time and I thought it was time for me to come back home.
“Melbourne Victory for me is probably the biggest team in Australia and it’s in my home town so it’s really good.”
Stella, who can play anywhere in the front third, explained why he failed to break into the starting eleven at Siena and Rangers.
“Well in Italy it was very tough because Siena’s a team that fights for relegation every year so they were looking to mostly the experienced players and I was fortunate to train with the first-team but never really got the opportunity to play.
“In Scotland with Rangers I had a one-year-deal and I was hoping for better, but I wasn’t given a chance until January and that’s when I opted to move.”
A confident Stella hopes to break into the eleven under Ange Postecoglou, but understands that there is plenty of hard work ahead of him.
“I definitely know I have the abilities and it’s just down to me to put the hard work in and hopefully do my best,” the 21-year-old said.
Makarounas, 18, signed after a frustrating year-and-a-half at the Perth Glory.
“I’m happy to be here at Victory now. I had a frustrating few seasons at Glory for a season-and-a-half and didn’t get the game time I think I deserved, just down to some good players in my position, like Smeltzy and McGarry.
“Obviously the opportunity came up for me to come to Victory, which I think is a perfect set up for me and the way the team plays football I think it’s great for me and young players to learn in.
“I didn’t really see an option not to come so I did everything I can and now I’m here and I’m stoked to be here.”
The Young Socceroo decided to move to the Victorian capital as he couldn’t see himself getting a chance under Ian Ferguson.
“I couldn’t see myself playing, I guess what ever the situation was I just didn’t think I got the chance. My contract was up at the end of the year and I hadn’t been spoken about staying at Glory so I just made the decision to come over here,” the Darwin-born youngster explained.
Improving as a footballer is Makarounas’ number one aim and believes the Victory is the right club for his development.
“I think the most important thing for me is to improve as a footballer, coming over here there’s a great bunch of players, coaching staff and I think the best thing for is to improve and become the best player I can be,” he said.
Makarounas is most accustomed to the attacking-midfield position, which is currently held by Marcos Flores, and AIS graduate hopes to learn from the Argentine.
“Players like Flores I think I can learn a lot from, he’ just a class player so hopefully he can give me a bit of advice and I can learn from him,” he said.
Galloway captained the AIS side in the National Youth league (NYL) this season and informed he media of his short-lived career so far.
“I’m a boy form Perth. I recently got accepted into the AIS, I played there for two seasons. I think I’ve been playing very well improving myself on and off the field and very luckily Ange has picked me up to come to Melbourne Victory, which for me is a club that I’ve looked up to and always wanted to play for and to get my first pro contract at this club is unbelievable for me, it’s a dream come true.
“I got a call from Paul Trimboli (Victory’s Football Operations Manager) and within seconds I knew exactly that’s where I wanted to be.”
Galloway, though, had plans if the Victory didn’t call.
“If there was no call from Victory I was lined up to head overseas to go for trials at Reading FC, but I was looking through to the rest of the Youth League season at the AIS to impress as many teams as possible and play the best I can and hopefully one team would pick me up,” he said confidently.
The young fullback, who can also play in midfield, is confident he can plan senior football after training with crosstown rivals the Melbourne Heart.
“I’ll see how it goes. I think if I can prove myself I think why not? I’ve trained with an A-League team before (Melbourne Heart) and I showed to myself that I can match it with those type of boys so I just got to keep improving and impress the coach and hopefully when I make the squad I got to take it (the opportunity) with both hands and not let it slip through,” he said.
Like Makarounas, Galloway is hoping to learn as much as he can with the likes of Marcos Flores and Archie Thompson.
“It’s great, they are the type of players (Archie Thompson and Marcos Flores) you look up to as a junior and you can learn so much from them and I think I’m going to learn a whole lot from them and I think it’s probably going to be the best experience so far and hopefully there are better things to come as well,” he said.