The Perth Glory faithful were treated to a brief glimpse of a new-look attacking line up on Saturday as new recruits Daniel Sturridge and Adrian Sardinero came off the bench to make their A-League Men debuts.
With the media circus surrounding the signing of his new strike partner, it’s easy to forget that Perth were so impressed by Sardinero that they reportedly offered a transfer fee to secure his services from Greek Super League side OFI Crete back in August.
And it’s easy to see why.
The versatile Spanish forward arrives in Australia following more than a decade of European football, catching the eye on both the domestic and continental stage for the likes of Getafe and Cypriot rivals AEL and Apollon Limassol.
Following his half-hour cameo against Adelaide, Kick360 caught up with the Glory’s new Spanish star to learn more about his thoughts on Australia, life in Perth and his A-Leagues ambitions.
“I’m so happy so far,” says Sardinero.
“Everything goes well. The city here in Perth is amazing, I’m really happy so far.”
Sardinero is the latest in a long line of Spaniards to make the move to Australia, following in the footsteps of the likes of former Getafe team mate Diego Castro and Juande in swapping Europe for Western Australia.
“I knew some players that had played in Australia, here in the A-League. I didn’t watch too many games to be honest, but I [followed and] watched the highlights.
“I had the opportunity to play with [Castro] in Getafe, but only the pre-season, as I went on loan to another team. But in that pre-season, just in the two months, I realise how good a player he was and is, and I know he is a legend here in Perth Glory. It was a pity, I would have liked to play with him but I know how good he was here.”
Luckily for Sardinero, another member of the club’s Spanish alumni was on hand to share some advice and give him an insight in to what he could expect from life on the other side of the world.
“One of my managers used to play for Perth Glory a few years ago, Andreu Guerao. He came to me and explained how was everything here, he told me about the city is amazing, he told me about the club, that it’s working very well, he speak about all of this.
“I also spoke with Bruno Fornaroli, the striker of Perth Glory and he told me a lot of good things about the city and club.”
Ultimately, for the then 30-year-old Sardinero, the opportunity to experience something new with his young family proved to good an opportunity to turn down.
“When the offer came to me, I was thinking about my family. It’s a nice opportunity for them also, to live and experience another country like Australia. I have the opportunity to come here and I feel that it was a very good opportunity for me.”
His first experience of playing in the iconic purple and orange shirt, running on to the pitch in front of a packed-out HBF Park just before the hour mark, has assured the winger that he has made the right decision.
“Was amazing, was amazing” Sardinero enthuses.
“It was the first game and the stadium was full, the atmosphere was unbelievable. We couldn’t win but I think the game was very nice and my first experience here in the A-League here was amazing. The fans, the people, was very, very exciting.”
While pleased to make his debut in that season opener, the new signing feels he needs more time to reach full fitness before Glory fans can really see the best of him.
“No, [I am] not 100% because I must do quarantine when I came here to Australia and before that I did not train in one month and a half because I couldn’t go to training. I know I need a few weeks to be at 100% but I feel good.
“The time that I could play in the last game, ok, I think I can be better but I feel good.
“What I can say is that I am a team player. I try to help the team as much as I can, I can play in all the attacking positions, I try to explore my qualities that can be speed, the passes with my teammates, I will try also to score goals, the last season I scored many goals.
“I am a team player, I will always try and I will give my best for the team.”
Experienced and ambitious, Sardinero has enjoyed numerous highs during his career; challenging for titles across Europe and scoring goals against the likes of Tottenham, Everton and Lyon in continental campaigns.
While hopes these successes will translate and he can contribute to Perth’s quest for ‘Glory’ over the next two seasons, he knows that getting up to speed has to be his immediate goal.
“The first target is to be fit, to be 100%. [Then] I will try to give my best to meet the goal of the team.
“I will try to score and assist as much as I can and about the team, I will see how we are in the table and the league, but I hope we will be in the highest positions.”
Image Supplied: Perth Glory