Melbourne Victory’s Spanish defender Alan Baro has given the Hyundai A-League Finals Series system the thumbs up ahead of his post-season debut later today against Brisbane Roar.
Earlier this month, Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold claimed he had to explain to Brazilian striker Bobo and Dutch defender Jordy Buijs that their campaign wasn’t over once they secured the Premier’s Plate.
But Baro – another A-League newcomer – has seemingly had little trouble understanding the system.
The Spanish centre back telling Goal.com he is looking forward to testing himself in the finals’ unique atmosphere when Victory host Roar in a semi-final at AAMI Park today.
“It’s quite different from Spain but I think it’s a good option to make the league a little bit longer and, of course, the finals are really, really emotional and really interesting for the people,” he said.
“I think it’s a really good form to give the competition more excitement at the end.”
Before joining Victory in July, Baro had spent his entire career playing in his homeland.
Twice he had success in knockout football, helping Alicante and Ponferradina from the third tier into the second tier in 2007-08 and 2011-12, respectively.
“I think it’s quite similar,” Baro said, when asked how that might compare to the A-League finals.
“In these sort of games, the intensity is more aggressive or more concentrated.”
The 31-year-old’s one-year contract with Victory is coming to a close and the club have told Baro they will hold off on negotiations about an extension until the Big V’s season ends.
Baro is happy with his maiden A-League campaign – he has played 24 matches and led the club for tackles, clearances and interceptions – and he and his family love living in Melbourne, but he is well aware he may need to find a new employer for 2017-18.
It has been widely reported Victory are keen on Perth Glory defender Rhys Williams, who would be a decent replacement for Baro, allowing coach Kevin Muscat to sign an import in another position.
The prospect of another move doesn’t faze the Spaniard, however, and he is simply focused on finishing the season on a high by claiming the first trophy of his career.
“I’m happy with my season in Australia and I just expect that I finish just as well very, very good and try to rise to the final and try to win the trophy,” the central defender said.
“I’m really happy at the moment but I expect that I will be more happy in a few weeks.”