Germano loving life in 'paradise'

Life in Australia seems to agree with Melbourne Heart midfielder Jonatan Germano.

Life in Australia seems to agree with Melbourne Heart midfielder Jonatan Germano.

The 25-year-old Argentine arrived in Melbourne almost two years ago for a trial with the fledgling club, which was just a few months removed from its maiden A-League season.

Speaking to Germano, his fondness for his new home is clear.

He has an affinity for Australia where football can mean four different things, because - growing up in the small Argentine city of San Nicolas - Germano only ever had one choice.

"From when you're a child, you're exposed to playing football out on the streets - it's the only thing you want to do growing up in a small city," he said.

"You just spend all your time with a ball, out on the streets, at home, in the lounge room - everywhere."

Germano sounds well and truly settled in his adopted home, and cites the relatively low crime rate as one of the reasons he is happy to be here with his girlfriend and young son.

"It's like a paradise," he said. "You don't have to worry when you walk down the street thinking someone's going to rob you, which happens in Argentina.

"You don't have to think about what you're wearing, and think about dressing down to suit the environment you're in. It's a paradise for family life."

Germano is part of the A-League's new wave of Argentine talent, starring Adelaide United duo Marcelo Carrusca and Jeronimo Neumann and featuring Melbourne Victory forward Marcos Flores.

Germano, Carrusca and Jeronimo all spent time together at Argentine club Estudiantes before forging their paths overseas, and their bond has become stronger now they are each plying their trade in the A-League.

"When I was at Estudiantes, I was in the youth team and Carrusca was in the first team," Germano said.

"I knew him to say hello to, but we didn't cross paths much because I was still in the junior team and we didn't train at the same time.

"Now that we're both here in Australia, there's a friendship there.

"Jeronimo was in the first team too, we only played a couple of practice matches against each other, but since moving here we've become closer and we'll have a bit of a chat after games.

"I don't have any extra rivalry with the Argentine boys. For me, it doesn't matter what nationality they are. My goal is just to win for my team."

Perhaps the compatriot he's closest to, however, is Flores.

Although they play on opposite sides of what is an intense club rivalry, Germano and the Victory man put their footballing differences aside to socialise.

"I catch up with Flores - being in the same city makes it convenient," Germano said.

"We catch up for coffee, a meal and talk about life in general."

Germano rates Flores as one of the more difficult assignments in the A-League, ranking him alongside Carrusca and Brisbane's Thomas Broich as some of tougher opponents.

But when quizzed on who the best player he has come up against is, Germano barely hesitates.

"Del Piero," he said grinning.

"He's strong, you can't knock him knock him off the ball easy.

"He thinks 10 seconds ahead. He knows where to find space - how to hit it, where to hit it. It's very difficult to get the ball off him once he's in control."

Germano spent four years at Estudiantes, with loan spells in Croatia and Paraguay along the way, and said his time there was instrumental in his development.

The midfielder said Diego Simeone - who was in charge of Estudiantes when he signed - was one of the more influential coaches he has had the privilege of working with, and tipped Heart boss John Aloisi to have a distinguished managerial career.

"Simeone is one of the coaches who had a big impact on my career. He gave me my first opportunity as a first-team player, I spent a year under him," he said.

"John Aloisi will be a big coach. He brings a lot of what he had as a player into football and a lot of things he's learned. He'll have a really good coaching career."

And Germano wants to be around to see Aloisi realise that potential and lead the Heart up the A-League standings, saying the Heart faithful are yet to see his best football.

"I'm content, but I'm disappointed by a few injuries and setbacks I've had," he said.

"I believe I can go a lot further than what I've been able to show this season."