Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Amaral gets down to business with Glory
By Justin Chadwick
Perth Glory's newest A-League import Amaral says he will let his football do all the talking - and it's probably just as well considering the diminutive Brazilian can't speak a word of English.Visa complications delayed Amaral's arrival in Australia by almost a month but the fleet-footed midfielder has been quick to make up for lost time.Amaral trained strongly on Tuesday and followed it up with an impressive performance in Wednesday night's intra-club match to put his hand up for selection for Perth's season opener against Adelaide on August 17.Amaral, who has been capped 31 times for Brazil and also represented Serie-A outfits Fiorentina and Parma, said he felt comfortable amongst his new teammates despite the communication barriers."Soccer ... has a universal language and for him it doesn't represent any problems about the language," Amaral said through his translator."But of course he wants to learn English because he wants to play with other players and (he wants) to make jokes and to communicate better."Amaral - full name Alexander Da Silva Mariano - may only stand at 170cm but, for him, size really doesn't matter."He said when he takes the field he becomes a giant, he can play with the size of any type of player," Amaral said through his translator."He has large experience playing in Europe with those type of players - Zidane, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho - and he knows how he can play in different situations."Perth coach Dave Mitchell admitted he was initially wary of signing a 35-year-old.But Amaral's performances while trialling with the Glory during their pre-season tour of Indonesia eased any doubts Mitchell held."You get 35-year-olds who can be slow but he's very fit and he's looked after his body," Mitchell said."He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't go out with bad women, so he's OK. He looks after his body."He's played with some big clubs around the world and played for Brazil 31 times, so he can't be a mug."Amaral said he was confident he could play the full 90 minutes in Perth's season opener at Hindmarsh Stadium but Mitchell said he would wait a bit longer before deciding whether to throw his prized recruit straight into the deep end.Mitchell hopes Amaral will become the Glory's midfield general, a similar role to that performed by former skipper Simon Colosimo at the club."His touch is good and he sees things happening on the park and he'll be a good link player for us," Mitchell said.