The future is bright for the Socceroos after their Asian Cup triumph. That is according to arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Pele, who spoke with Perform on Wednesday.
After bidding farewell to Oceania Confederation, followed by three consecutive World Cup appearances, Australia finds itself as the top team in Asian football.
Few could have envisaged Australia's rise when Pele first graced our shores as a touring member of Brazilian giants Santos in 1972.
More than 28,000 fans flocked to the Sydney Sports Ground to see the famed Santos draw 2-2 against a Rale Rasic Socceroos team, featuring Jim Rooney, Ray Baartz and Manfred Schaefer.
A lot has changed in the Australian football landscape since then, none more noticeable then the brand of football adopted by coach Ange Postecoglou which helped lift Australia to the Asian summit in January.
And Pele, who will be Down Under on March 26 and 27 to honour iconic football commentator Les Murray, believes the Aussie public has plenty to be excited about as the Socceroos prepare to start their road to World Cup Russia 2018.
"Definitely [the future is bright]. From a long time ago the football in Australia improved a lot as a team and nation," Pele told Perform.
"We cannot compare with South American teams who have always competed in big tournaments and World Cups but Australia has improved a lot."
To see Pele and Les talk football in Melbourne and Sydney, book your tickets at pelelive.com.au