Catch of the week: Mariners' Ferreira sets sights on top six

Former Chelsea youth graduate Fabio Ferreira has made a surprise move to the Central Coast Mariners after an injury disrupted season at Adelaide United saw the winger lose his spot to rising star Awer Mabil.

But with the promise of more first team football, and his injury worries behind him, Ferreira has set his sights on helping the struggling Mariners into the top six.

Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo, Ferreira said he was highly “motivated for this new chapter” in an extraordinary football journey.

“This last week was very busy,” Ferreira said.

“I knew there was interest (from the Mariners) and so I spoke with the club (Adelaide United) and I said to them I wasn’t happy at the club anymore.

“Seeing my contract is finishing at the end of the season I didn’t know what the future would hold, so with this opportunity I decided to take it.”

“(The Mariners) are having a rough time this year, but hopefully I can go there and I can help them go to the top six – that will mean a lot.

“My ankle is perfect now, my hamstrings are feeling good now. Muscle injuries are always a pain in the arse and can happen anytime.

“An ankle or a knee – it can happen in a tackle – but a muscle injury always take a while to heal so it’s annoying but hopefully until the end of the season I will get away with it.”

Ferreira said feeling wanted by Mariners head coach Phil Moss was one of the main reasons he signed a two-and-a-half year contract with the Gosford team.

“When he talked with me he showed a lot of interest in me,” Ferreira said.

“That helped me to choose my situation because he wanted me there and he showed he really appreciated me so that helps.

“Then he said about the group of boys and the project he has for the team, so I looked at it as a good opportunity for my career and for me personally.”

The 25-year-old revealed a link with the Mariners pre-dating Adelaide United.

“I went to the Central Coast Mariners (in 2012). They were interested and I trialled with them but in the first training session I got injured and I had to leave,” Ferreira said.

“Mossy was there already so I guess he still likes me as a player.”

Ferreira denied that Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau had spoken to him about his playing time with the Reds.

And while many of his teammates at United praised the former Barcelona youth coach for his impact on their careers, Ferreira viewed him as just another manager.

“I didn’t speak anything with the coach this season (about me not playing) also I haven’t been playing as much because I had some injuries as well which didn’t help,” he said.

“In my career he (Gombau) did not have much influence because it seems it could be any other coach.

“He was good for the soccer in Australia because he had very good ideas but for me it would be the same with any other coach.”

Compared with last season’s nine goals in 23 games – and selection in the A-League All Stars team to play Juventus (he was eventually ruled out through injury) – the start of the 2014/15 season has been a huge disappointed for the Portuguese star.

“This last season hasn’t been very good for me, so I’m looking forward to my future now,” he said.

“I’ve been injured a few times which has not been good, also I haven’t been playing much but you’ve got to keep fighting because a player wants to play, and that’s why I’m here for.

“Last season was a great season for me. It was probably my best season for me at the professional level and I was very confident and I was feeling very comfortable.

“This last year was the second season here (in Adelaide). I was feeling very good, I was feeling very happy, and as long as I’m not injured I knew I could produce a lot of stuff.”

The move to the Mariners is another chapter in Ferreira’s unique football journey, which includes being a former protege of Jose Mourinho’s at Chelsea where he spent four years from 2005 to 2009 in the youth ranks. After that he struggled in Portugal’s lower division for a couple of years.

Deciding to give up football, Ferreira spent a year out of the game before coming to Australia to look for work.

Once a former training partner of Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack, he spent the first five months working in Sydney with his Uncle and Aunty and playing for the NSW State League side Dulwich Hill after falling back in love with the round ball game.

Ferreira said returning to NSW, where his relatives live, will assist in his transition to the Central Coast.

“I am close with my family and sometimes they are the most important,” he said.

“I cannot have my parents and my brother here, (but now) my Uncle, Aunty and my cousins… are only an hour and half away and that will be an extra help for me as well.

“My Uncle and Aunty have a coffee shop in Sydney so I was helping them out there in Panania. I was a barista.

“I’m not sure anymore (if I make good coffee). I used to, not now, maybe, I don’t know. I’m a better footballer (than barista) for sure.”