Why Western United marquee Kone snubbed European offers for Hyundai A-League
For seven straight Serie A seasons, Panagiotis Kone would wake up on a Sunday and prepare to test his mettle against the likes of Javier Zanetti, Ronaldinho and Kaka.
But the Greece international will soon be lighting the inaugural path of Western United FC in the club’s maiden Hyundai A-League charge.
Kone arrives with big pedigree having represented Greece at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, won the Championship with AEK Athens in his home country and captained Italian side Bologna.
And although the 31-year-old has been without a club since August 2018 after his contract at Udinese expired, the classy operator says he was compelled by the prospect of starting afresh with the Hyundai A-League debutants.
READ: Mark Rudan's emotional tribute to Christchurch victims
HEROIC MOMENTS: Kennedy fights back to enter F3 Derby legend
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Who made the cut for Round 22?
“I’m honoured they choose me,” Kone told www.aleague.com.au.
“It’s true that I have not played [much football recently] but it wasn’t my choice because I ended my contract with Udinese and I couldn’t have the chance to sign to another team.
“I was waiting on the first of January to sign with another team. I had two, three teams from Italy, also in Greece I had two, three teams who were very interested in me.
“I was excited to take this opportunity and to have this experience in Melbourne because of the big Greek community that is here.
“It is the first time that I will participate with a team that is a new team without history, without playing all these years, this is the first year.
“I also wanted to write this open book. It is a book that we are the writers for and I think it will be very interesting to be here and to play for my new team.
“It’s a new chapter in my life, in my career.
“I never thought in the last years that I would have been part of the Australian league, but it’s a very good opportunity for me and for everyone to be here to have an experience so big.”
In addition to the experience Kone has gained against Italian giants Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan, the attacker also brings to Australia an element of the spectacular.
This was illuminated in 2013 when he received a nomination for the FIFA Puskas Award for a stunning bicycle kick scored for Bologna against Napoli.
“It comes from the hard work. But the spectacular goals were because of my instinct and my talent," Kone said.
“Some players, they do it, some players they try to do it.
“Fortunately, I have had good results when I try to do it.
“I hope that I can score a lot of these goals in the next season and to help my team get the results that we all want.”
Stay tuned to www.aleague.com.au for the rest of our exclusive interview with Western United marquee Panagiotis Kone.
WATCH FOR FREE: How to watch the Hyundai A-League LIVE and FREE
Featured NewsRead more
Clubs jump at chance to join $15m talent flow
One day, it might be dubbed the Sturridge Rule ? the policy change which could bring up to almost $15m of talent to the A-Leagues. Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is the highest-profile recruit so far from the introduction of the so-called "designated player" rule fr
Melbourne Victory signs Italian forward Francesco Margiotta
MELBOURNE Victory is pleased to announce the signing of Italian forward Francesco Margiotta ahead of the 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League season. The 28-year-old has signed a one-year deal which will see Margiotta join the club until the end of the 2021/22 season. Victory head co
Marco Tilio signs two-year City contract extension
MELBOURNE City rising star Marco Tilio has signed a two-year contract extension with the Isuzu UTE A-League Champions in a deal which will see the 20-year-old remain at the club until the end of the 2023/24 season. The young forward has extended a contract which already had on