Ikonomidis: ‘The greatest pleasure in life is wearing the green and gold’
He has been in the best form of his career, helped Perth Glory to silverware in the Hyundai A-League and earned a recall to the Caltex Socceroos squad.
It has been something of a dream season for Chris Ikonomidis since swapping Serie A’s Lazio for the Glory, but the young attacker admits his upturn in fortunes was all part of the plan when he decided to join Tony Popovic’s Perth revolution.
Ikonomidis, who turned 24 last Saturday, was a big factor in Glory’s surge to the Premiership, scoring nine goals and providing three assists in the regular season.
His exploits in the Hyundai A-League not only won him a nomination for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award, but also allowed him to tie down a spot in Graham Arnold’s squad for January’s 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s pretty close to what I was expecting, what I put on myself expectation-wise,” Ikonomidis told Fox Sports’ Bill & Boz Show this week.
“Before making my decision I had quite a few offers in the A-League, especially. I really took my time. I looked at the squad and talked a lot with the boss here, and everything felt right about this project.
“I didn’t want to do something short term, a quick loan. I wanted to do something with a bit of an idea behind it.
Also in the back of my mind was getting back into the Socceroos and playing in the national team, and fortunately that’s all come true.”
Ikonomidis admits that earning a recall to the Caltex Socceroos after almost two years in the international wilderness has been a dream come true.
“I’ve always told people the biggest pleasure I’ve got in my life, in my football career, is when I put on that green and gold jersey,” the Sydney-born winger said.
"I’ll continue to fight to be in the squad and to play and score as many goals as I can and keep developing under Arnie.
"It’s such an exciting time now in the team and in the camp and I just felt so free up top with the other young boys that were [playing] there as well. I think there’s a lot more to come with the national team.”
For now, his international hopes take a brief back seat. Ikonomidis’ sole focus in the immediate future is on helping Glory go on to win the Hyundai A-League title, starting with Friday night’s Semi-Final against Adelaide United at HBF Park.