With the Isuzu UTE A-League Men season set to kick off, Socceroos forward Chris Ikonomidis has opened up about why he chose Melbourne Victory as the 'perfect fit' for him to showcase his talent.
Ikonomidis recently signed for Victory on a three-year deal, reuniting with Tony Popovic after playing a key part in Perth Glory’s 2018/19 Premiership-winning squad.
During his time under the former Socceroo Popovic, the 26-year-old scored 16 goals and re-established himself in the Socceroos squad.
Hungry to reignite that form and be selected in more national team camps, Ikonomidis told Socceroos Insider that is excited to work with his former boss, and build up the Victory’s A-League Men's status once again.
“A lot of different pieces fell into place for me,” Ikonomidis explained.
Together with my agent we went through tonnes of different options and scenarios but the Victory felt like the perfect fit.
“With the coach Popovic coming in, who I had success with before, and being involved in a project where they want to rebuild the club, I just felt like it was the right time to join the club.
“It was the right option for me.”
Ikonomidis was limited to just nine A-League Men's appearances last season due to a knee injury, but after making a successful return, he featured twice for the Socceroos earlier in the year.
Having already been capped 14 times for the Socceroos, the former Atalanta and Lazio youth product relishes the opportunity to pull on the Green and Gold.
“I think that the kind of culture that Graham Arnold has implemented for the Socceroos has been fantastic," he said.
You can definitely feel a family culture when you come into camp and it really helps with the football on the pitch as well.
"It makes everyone unite and just do anything we need to do to get to the results.”
After representing the Socceroos against Oman and Japan in October, Ikonomidis has been back in Melbourne working hard ahead of the new campaign.
Graham Arnold spoke of the league's importance for the national team after November's FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, which featured four Australian-based players in Mathew Leckie, Rhyan Grant, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout.
"It's important they all go to their clubs and get more match minutes," he said. "One positive is the A-League is starting again, and some of the Australian boys will be fit for selection next time."
"It's been tough for everyone, with these A-League boys not being to be able to play competitive minutes. It's been tough for us, not being able to lean on the A-League players when we've been needed them most in the September, October, November camps."
Ikonomidis will pull on the Victory navy for the first time on Saturday night, when they meet cross-town rivals Western United.
The Socceroos are next in action on January 27, when they recommence their FIFA World Cup Qualification journey at home to Vietnam.