Despite being met with jet lag and a cold Melbourne winter upon arrival in Australia, new Melbourne Victory signing Kristijan Dobras is beginning to settle into his new home.
The midfielder spent three months training alone in Austria after finishing with his most recent club, Rheindorf Altach, staying fit and looking for the next big step in his career.
He wanted the opportunity to play outside of Austria, however it wasn’t until he received a call from Marco Kurz that Australia become a possibility.
“For me it was clear that I wanted to make the next step to another country,” said Dobras.
“But I wasn’t thinking Australia. I was thinking Germany or something like that, but now it’s Australia and I’m really happy.
“The first week was very hard because of the jet lag and not getting much sleep. I was also sick for three days in bed, so it was not a good start, but it’s much better now and my body is feeling good.”
As with many changes in life, the first step is the hardest.
For Dobras, this step was moving away from his family and friends, however the familiarity of football is something that has helped him find his feet amongst a fun and welcoming group of new teammates.
“To say goodbye to the family was not easy, but this is football and I fight for my dreams,” said Dobras.
“I asked myself, ‘why not?’ I can’t lose, I think.
“I do miss my family and friends, but in the football business side of things, it’s always the same.
“As a footballer, wherever you go, you meet new friends. The language is maybe a problem, but I understand everything when you speak slow.
“I will learn it! English is an important language and Jakob’s (Poulsen) English is very good so I can learn a lot from him too.
“The team is very good to me because they know my English is not so good, so they help me.”
Unlike his training schedule, which is highly regimented and organised day by day, Dobras enjoys spending his free-time spontaneously exploring his new home.
“In Melbourne you have everything,” said Dobras.
“I love the tall buildings and I love the food too – there is a restaurant on every corner.
“I like to sightsee when we have days off and go to different restaurants, I really love my food. I like to be spontaneous.”
In his first hit-out for Victory in a friendly match in Dandenong, Dobras assisted two goals and scored one of his own in just 25 minutes of game time.
Now, Dobras looks forward to making an impact in the real thing in front of the biggest support base in the country.
“There are so many great people here and I’m looking forward to the real games starting soon – it’s been a long pre-season,” said Dobras.
“I know it’s the biggest club and I can’t wait to play in front of the best supporters in Australia.”
Be there to cheer on Kristijan Dobras and Melbourne Victory in the Round 1 Derby against Melbourne City at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, October 12 from 7:30pm.