How the Socceroos made Bruno Fornaroli 'feel part of the group straight away'

Looking back on his surprise Socceroos debut, Bruno Fornaroli thanked those who made his transition to the Australian national team so easy. 

The 34-year-old made his Socceroos debut against Japan last month after choosing to represent his adopted home. 

The Perth Glory striker had previously represented Uruguay at U17 level, but had not played for his country of birth at senior level, which allowed him to play for another nation.

While Fornaroli was a surprise inclusion for the Socceroos after recently gaining Australian citizenship, he said his transition into the national team fold was seamless. 

“I have to say thank you to all the people that are involved with the Socceroos - the coaches, the staff and of course, the players,” Fornaroli said. 

They gave me a very good warm welcome and they made me feel part of the group straight away. 

“There were a lot of players there that play overseas and I had never met them before but straight away, you create connections and they made me feel part of the group so I have to say thank you to them. 

“That made me feel free to play and it made me feel part of this. That’s what I want and of course, I want to be close with everyone and try to be everyone and try to fight to go to the World Cup.” 

Fornaroli’s debut is both a brilliant personal story and a representation of everything great about our nation. 

Australia has a history of people coming to our country to make their dreams come true, and Fornaroli is the latest Australian to achieve that.

In 2015, when he arrived at Melbourne City, he had made little more than 120 appearances for clubs across Europe and South America. 

Seven years later, he entered the field in a crucial World Cup qualifier for Australia as one of the finest marksmen to grace the A-League Men competition having scored an incredible 81 goals in 135 starts. 

While the result did not go the way of the Socceroos on his debut, Fornaroli will never forget the moment he realised his Australian dream. 

“It was magic,” he said. 

Straight away, when I heard my name to come on, many, many things came to my mind. My kids, my wife, my parents, everything is going through your head in that moment. 

“It was strange because it was a mixed feeling. It was probably one of the happiest moments in my career and in my life but I was disappointed with the result.”

To make the occasion even more special for the 34-year-old, Fornaroli quickly organised a flight for his parents to trek 43-hours from Uruguay to watch their son pull on the Green and Gold for the first time in Sydney against Japan. 

“After three years, they were allowed to come back to Australia because the border was open,” Fornaroli explained.

“But at the same time, it was only two months until we were due to go back to Uruguay after the end of the season in the A-League, we were waiting for that moment but when this change came up and I had the chance to play for the Socceroos, I wanted my parents there.

From when the 34-year-old was only a young boy, it would always be his parents that would be by his side no matter what, so Fornaroli himself knew that he needed to bring his parents along for such a monumental occasion in his career. 

“They are a big part of my career because they supported me a lot. Especially when I was young. I remember my mother and father would stay with me in every training. In the rain, in the cold, it didn't matter. They were there. 

I thought that they had to be here in this special moment so I tried to organise everything quickly and they flew more than 43 hours to Australia to be at the game. 

“It was so special for me to see them after three years and for them to see me play for Australia in a big game was special for them” Fornaroli concluded.