How pride-filled Aussie journey prepared Genreau for 'dream' French transfer

Upon sealing a move to Toulouse FC, Denis Genreau's life appears to have already gone full circle. 

After becoming a Socceroo in June and an Olympian in July, the 22-year-old signed his first permanent European deal in August - returning to the nation of his birth in the process. 

It has been a whirlwind few months that is enough to challenge anyone out of their comfort zone, but Genreau, who enjoyed a first appearance in French football last week, is taking it all in his stride. 

"It's a really good year for me, I'm very happy to join Toulouse Football Club. It was a dream to play in France and wear this purple jersey," he said upon joining the French club earlier this month. 


Since departing Australia for a maiden Socceroos call-up in early June, Genreau has come a long way in a short period of time. 

From playing his part in the Socceroos' four-straight wins in the sweltering heat of Kuwait, to taking on some of the world's premiere young talent as he started all three of the Olyroos' matches in Japan, he has added even more surreal experiences to his immensely successful career so far. 

So while the box-to-box midfielder readily admits he "didn't expect to end up here" just a few months ago, the destination he has wound up at isn't exactly alien. 

"I have all my family here in France, except my father, my mother and my sister," he told BeIN Sports.

"Otherwise all my family is here in Montpellier or Toulouse, in the South of France, so we used to come here quite often."

Not only is Genreau in close proximity of family, he is also fluent in French, further allowing for a smooth transition.

The trickiest element to adjust to may well be for his loved ones back in Australia - who will have to re-define their routine of watching Denis every time he is in action. 

"They will have to get up at two o'clock in the morning with a coffee and a croissant and will have to watch the games!"

Genreau making his Socceroos debut in June

While he may have left Australian shores behind for now, the Green and Gold is still truly ingrained in Genreau's identity. 

Like so many of his international teammates, as a child he supported the Socceroos as they made history on the world stage. 

"Growing up in Australia is great, it's a country that loves sports in general," he reflected upon his upbringing. "It's a general culture of sport and sporting activity like going outside or to the beach, things like that. It's great to live in that environment. 

The more memories you create in Australia, the more Australian you feel, so I think that by watching World Cups where Australia qualified in 2006, in 2010, you become more attached and at some point you become really Australian." 

Not only does Genreau differ culturally from his new teammates, but he also believes that his Australian footballing journey has taught him some invaluable lessons along the way. 

"I've seen things that other players haven't seen, I have experiences that other players haven't had," he said. 

"They say soccer is not the most popular sport in Australia, but it is the most played sport, especially among young people, but very few become professional.

"(Tokyo 2020) was an unforgettable experience, not only the three games we played but the three years it took us to qualify. It's a shame that it ended quickly, but it was a great adventure"

Translation credit: @ALeagueFR