Melbourne City's goal machine Bruno Fornaroli admits the Hyundai A-League has been tougher than he first anticipated as he prepares for a blockbuster meeting with the new league leaders Adelaide United on Friday night.
John van’t Schip’s City squad currently sit fourth on the A-League ladder largely thanks to Fornaroli's 20 goals.
But they can move to within a point of the summit if they can beat the red-hot United at Coopers.
It should be an absolute high-quality clash to kick off Round 23 with the former Serie A player admitting he’s been impressed by the Aussie competition’s standard.
"It’s harder than I thought,” Fornaroli told Michael Lynch of the Melbourne Age (www.theage.com.au).
"When I came in I was surprised. It’s not easy to play.
"It’s strong. It’s not at the level of the big league but it has everything to go up [improve] in the future.’’
While Fornaroli still has a year to run on his City deal, his exploits on the field look set to be rewarded with a contract upgrade in the off-season.
The striker says he’s loving life in Melbourne and with FFA foreshadowing their intent to help clubs attract and maintain their marquee talent, Fornaroli confirmed he’d be more than happy to extend his stay.
"At the moment, I don’t have any other offers, and my mind and my head is here,” said Fornaroli.
"This moment is beautiful. I want to stay and enjoy it here.
"I am very happy here, in the team, in the change room, the club, the people who support me every time.
"The staff are good and support me. This is important. My family is happy here.”
And Fornaroli’s record breaking feats will have a hollow feeling for the Uruguayan unless his club are able to claim silverware this season.
The 28-year-old eclipsed the previous best haul for goals in a season last weekend, his hat-trick against Sydney FC taking his campaign tally to 20 from 22 matches.
With five games still to play before the finals Fornaroli looks set to shatter the mark set by Besart Berisha at Brisbane Roar in the 2010-11 season.
But the City striker is firmly focused on helping the club lift a first-ever trophy.
"It’s very important to score. I am very happy for this.
"But when I came here [I said] the most important thing is to win the league with this team.
“Now the team is very close to the lead, only four points."