Socceroo hero Mark Bresciano admits he's unlikely to be ready for the Australia's World Cup warm up against Ecuador next month - but he's hoping to still make the plane to Brazil.
Bresciano is currently stuck on the sidelines while he serves a four month suspension in a transfer row over his switch to his current club Al Gharafa in Qatar, although he is allowed to play in friendlies while he serves his ban.
But he's the first to admit his fitness is not up to international level, despite playing in a friendly for Melbourne Heart at the weekend where he has been training recently.
"My last game has been in November when I was in camp with the Socceroos," he said at the launch of Australia's new Nike kit for the World Cup in Sydney. "I'd love to be part of the team because obviously everyone wants to be part of the national team.
"But to be honest, I don't think I'll be in the best condition to play."
Bresciano was shattered in November by the four month ban and $1.87 million fine for his move to Al Gharafa last year while still apparently under contract to his former club Al Nasr in the UAE.
"Initially it was frustrating," Bresciano told FourFourTwo. "It was very hard for me, personally. It came unexpectedly and it just wasn't at the right time. I just had to accept it and do what I had to do to keep fit and try to stay in the best condition possible.
"Apart from missing all those games for your club, obviously you know the World Cup is coming up and that's the first thing you think about. Am I going to miss the World Cup from suspension? That would have been very hard to swallow.
"I actually went for the appeal - we wanted to appeal, both player and club. It was actually the Court of Arbitration of Sports that rejected the stay and the main reason was that apart from making sure the player doesn't miss the World Cup, they didn't want to put the judges under pressure of making a decision knowing a bad decision can make a player miss a World Cup.
"They said just to keep your mind at peace, take the suspension, guilty or not guilty, so you know that leading up to the World Cup, you can play. Maybe in this bad situation, it's possibly worked out for the best in taking the suspension, guilty or not guilty, and just knowing that I'm eligible to play in the World Cup.
"The club have been unbelievable and supported me in every way. A situation like this is almost unheard of and we've both been hard done by, we've done nothing wrong, but I guess, that's football and you just get on with it."
Bresciano revealed he had originally tried to move temporarily to train in Italy where he formerly played at clubs including Lazio, Parma, Palermo and Empoli.
"Honestly, I was trying to go back to Italy before I came to Australia," said the 73 capped veteran who celebrated his 34th birthday last week.
"But a lot of the clubs weren't guaranteeing me friendly games so it pointless for me to go there. Heart did and that was the main reason why - I just had to think, as an athlete, what's the best way I can get myself right? Obviously it's a plus being home because I have my family beside me and my wife and kids and my friends.
"Training at Heart is going very well. I'm very happy to be there and very happy that they accepted me to come back. I train with them throughout the whole week. The main reason for me going back to Heart is that they said they would organise friendly games for me. It's very important for me just to keep my match fitness up and I'm grateful for that.
"I played one on Sunday and I have another one next week and hoepfully another one before I go. It's good because you can train as much as you want but match fitness is the most important. I've got to play as many friendlies as possible. It's exactly what I need.
"I'm just waiting for my suspension to be up so I can get back there and start playing again."
But although Bresciano was grateful to Heart for helping him stay in World Cup contention, he was reticent about returning as an A-League player with the club.
"As a player , I don't know," he admitted. "I still have another year at Al Gharafa. I think at my age now, I probably have to just play it year by year and just see physically what state I'm in.
"Obviously I'll try to play as long as possible, but that all depends on the body, just how much it can cope."1 comment