Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Spanish Invasion Good for A-League; National Game to Benefit from Influx of Top Players

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Spanish Invasion Good for A-League; National Game to Benefit from Influx of Top Players

Article excerpt

OFFSIDE

PHIL DILLON

A FAMOUS line in Monty Python went: "Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition".

But that is exactly what A-League defences can look forward to this season following an influx of players from the Iberian Peninsula.

Eleven Spaniards will strut their stuff in the competition this season as the A-League widens its appeal to a global audience.

Adelaide United, which also has a Spanish coach in former Barcelona player Guillermo Amor, has the most, with three, along with Western Sydney Wanderers.

Most A-League fans will know Isaias, Sergio Cirio and Pablo Sanchez as they played under previous Reds coach Josep Gombau.

But Dimas Delgado, Andreu and Alberto Aguilar will be new faces, brought in as part of Tony Popovic's revamp of the Wanderers.

Brisbane Roar's new signing, Miguel Angel Garcia Perez-Roldan (Corona) 34, seems to have the best pedigree of all the new arrivals, having played for Almeria since 2006.

He will be joined by another midfielder, Javier Hervas Salmoral, who learned his trade with Sevilla.

Wellington Phoenix also has two Spanish players in Albert Riera and Alex Rodriguez, while Perth Glory's new signing Diego Castro rounds out the Spanish armada.

It is great to see the A-League now has more of an international feel about it, but just what will this Spanish invasion do to the way the game is played at club level?

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has tried to instil an attacking style of play on the national stage and maybe if these players can prove influential at their new clubs, that style can start to be ingrained in the domestic competition.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the season pans out.

As for the competition itself, I don't think you can look past Melbourne Victory to retain the A-League title and the Premier's Plate.

Kevin Muscat's team was the most consistent last season and has the firepower to blow teams away again.

Only three players -- Danny Vukovic (Perth Glory), Oliver Bozanic (free), Giancarlo Gallifuoco (Swansea) -- have been added to the squad, but in Vukovic and Bozanic, Victory has players who can have a big input as the season goes on. …

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