Australia's Robbie Kruse has resigned himself to a life of knocks and bruises after coming through a torrid 2014 FIFA Cup World qualifier against Iraq in midweek.
Kruse, who plays his club football for Fortuna Dusseldorf in Germany, was the recipient of persistent fouling by the Iraqi defenders in the Socceroos' 2-1 victory that puts them on the right track for Brazil.
The Brisbane-born attacker has become one of Australia's finest performers on the international stage due to his dribbling ability and his pace on and off the ball.
His thrilling style of play has made him a natural target for unscrupulous defenders but he said he would not have it any other way.
"I love running at defenders and taking them on ... it's exciting," Kruse said from Dusseldorf.
"I know that if I'm going to concentrate on my dribbling I can expect to be kicked a few times here and there, also because I'm slightly built and when you're running at speed and you get clipped it's difficult to stay on your feet.
"Obviously defenders have to do their job but the referee is there too and hopefully he can stamp out any foul play.
"But I suppose if I keep winning free kicks in dangerous areas this would give my team an advantage so this won't deter me from doing what I want to do.
"It's the price I will have to pay to play the way I like.
"It's all part of football and it does not really bother me.
"I'm still a bit tired from the match in midweek, though."
Kruse burst onto the A-League scene as a flamboyant striker for Queensland Roar in 2007.
But after two seasons in Brisbane that were punctuated by dazzling displays on the field and a reputation as a party boy off it, his promising career seemed to stall before Melbourne Victory came to his rescue by offering him a contract.
Kruse took this second chance to fulfil his potential with open arms and he has never looked back.
"In Melbourne I got out of my comfort zone," Kruse explained.
"I had a lot of good influences on me at Victory. The senior players were really good to me and I learned a lot from them.
"Coach Ernie Merrick gave me a lot of confidence and he trusted me.
"I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't made the decision to join Victory, that's for sure."
Consistent performances in Victory's front third earned him a deserved call-up for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.
And as some of Australia's established players started showing signs of wear and tear, Kruse went from strength to strength and today he can be considered a regular member in Holger Osieck's Socceroos side.
He was by far Australia's best and most dangerous player in Doha in midweek although, by his own admission, he was partly to blame for Iraq's goal after he gave the ball away.
"It took me 18-odd games for Australia to get my first start but now I feel part of the team," he said.
"I am grateful to Holger for giving me the opportunity to go to the Asian Cup and play with some players who had been my heroes when I was younger."
Kruse, who joined second division Fortuna at the start of 2011-2012, is now living the hectic life of an international footballer and loving every minute of it.
Four days after playing in the do-or-die World Cup qualifier in the Gulf, he should be in the promoted side's starting line-up for its home match against Bundesliga giant Bayern Munich.
Provided he recovers from a foot injury he sustained in Doha when Iraqi goalkeeper Noor Sabri accidentally trod on his foot.
"I feel like I've come a long way since my days in Brisbane where I was in a bit of trouble," he said.
"Now I'm representing Australia and I'm starting regularly for my Bundesliga club and this weekend I get to play Bayern who have some of the best players in world football.
"Sometimes I feel like it's a dream but I've worked really hard for this and I will keep working hard.
"I'm just grateful that I'm able to live my dream."
After seven Bundesliga matches, Fortuna is seventh on the ladder with two wins and four draws.
"Our goal for the season is to stay up," Kruse said.
"It's going to be difficult but we have made a great start and have lost only once, which was away to Mainz just before the last international break.
"Hopefully we can put in a good performance against Bayern and get something out of the game."
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck believes veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has a key role to play in their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.