Citizen Berisha becomes a dinky-di Aussie

Besart Berisha of Sanfrecce Hiroshima Source: Getty Images

All-time A-League top scorer Besart Berisha has become an Australian citizen, potentially easing his passage back to the competition in one final act of a much-travelled career.

The 33-year-old Kosovo-born marksman - whose family fled the Balkans war to settle in Germany as refugees - returned to Melbourne last week to complete the formalities, a year after first articulating his plan to become a naturalized Aussie.

Berisha ended a goal-spattered four-year association with Melbourne Victory to try his luck in the J.1 with Sanfrecce Hiroshima six months ago.

The firebrand forward has a year left on his contract but lack of game time at Hiroshima, who finished the season as runners-up, has fueled speculation in Japan that he might be on the move again.

However, despite just six goalless appearances - all off the bench - Berisha will return to Japan, placing on hold a possible A-League swansong.

He remains a sought after commodity in Australia, with a Premiership and two Championships at Brisbane Roar and the same haul at Victory, with an FFA Cup winners’ medal on top of that.

His A-League goal tally is 116 from 184 games, with two Golden Boots along the way.

“This is the country where I start again to play good football and I achieve great things. I'm very grateful for that,” Berisha said last year, as he moved closer to gaining his citizenship papers.

He arrived in Australia in 2011 after stints in England, Scandinavia and Germany, when Ange Postecoglou convinced him to take the plunge with Brisbane Roar.

He scored in both the Roar's grand final successes under Postecoglou before switching to Victory as a marquee.
He scored twice more in grand finals under Kevin Muscat, gaining cult hero status with Victory fans in the process.