As an 18-year-old player dreaming of a professional career, Osama Malik was simply starstruck by the sight of Brazil great Rivaldo strutting his stuff against his club Adelaide United at a jam-packed Hindmarsh Stadium in 2008.
Rivaldo's club Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan was playing the Reds in the semi-final of the AFC Champions League and, sitting in the stands, Malik felt far removed from the top-class action that was unfolding only a few metres away from him.
Adelaide won 3-0 on a memorable night to stake a strong claim for a place in the final which it realised after losing only 1-0 in the return in Tashkent.
”As a youth player I used to watch most of Adelaide's senior games and I was lucky enough to get a free ticket for that semi-final,” Malik recalled.
”We scored three goals in the second half of an amazing game.
”Watching Rivaldo play that night, you say to yourself as much as you'd love to be there they are so much away from you.
”But funnily enough I might be playing in another big game against the very same Bunyodkor in little over a month.”
Adelaide is having another dream run in the blue riband event of Asian club football and after winning its group and beating Japan's Nagoya Grampus in a one-off match in the round of 16 it faces its old rival from Uzbekistan over two legs in the quarter-finals.
The Reds are at home on 19 September and will play away on 3 October.
Yet defensive midfielder Malik is lucky to be in a position to be considered for the two matches after damaging a knee ligament in the group match against Pohang Steelers in the Korea Republic in March.
But a quick recovery has him primed for the big occasion.
”I tore the lateral ligament in my right knee during the match with Pohang,” he explained.
”It was not looking good for me and I was in a brace for six weeks.
”But I did all the right things and I was lucky to have had some good people looking after me.”
Malik, who was born in Adelaide of Sudanese and Australian parents, said the Reds' playing group is quietly confident of toppling the tough Uzbeks.
Adelaide has already faced Bunyodkor in this year's group phase, winning 2-1 away and drawing 0-0 at home so the portents are encouraging.
”We are all excited and ready to go after four good weeks of training,” he said.
”We all feel fit and strong and looking for a positive result to take to Tashkent.
”We know a little bit about them because we have played them before but this time they will be a lot fitter because they are in full season.
”Yet we are confident in our ability to do it again.”
Adelaide plays a South Australian selection in its next trial match at Burton Park on Wednesday night.