Francesco’s stellar move to Victory


Lack of opportunities and the allure of playing in his home town were the driving factors in young attacker Francesco Stella’s move to Melbourne Victory.

Lack of opportunities and the allure of playing in his home town were the driving factors in young attacker Francesco Stella’s move to Melbourne Victory.

The 21-year-old was presented to the media on Monday, along with other new signings Jesse Makarounas and Scott Galloway, and said the stature of the club and coach Ange Postecoglou had made the decision to come home easy.

“Melbourne Victory is the biggest team in Australia and it’s from my home town so it’s really good, I’m happy,” Stella said.

“The way (Ange) plays suits my characteristics but I just met him today for the first time and I got a really good impression. Working together, it should go the way I’m hoping it’s going to go.”

Stella left Australia at the age of 16 to join Cheivo Verona in the Italian Serie A and after returning for a brief spell at South Melbourne, he went back to Europe for stints at Siena and Rangers.

After joining Rangers on a one-year contract, Stella was disappointed with the lack of opportunities he received.

“I don’t really know (why I didn’t get a chance) because on my part I think I deserved a lot more. That’s why I chose to leave,” he said.

“(Rangers) were opting to use their youth system a lot and considering that they are in such a low league, players that come from overseas like me and few others, maybe didn’t get as much of a fair go because of that.”

Being able to play a variety of attacking roles, Stella isn’t sure where his ideal position for the team would be.

“I’m an attacking midfielder and second striker. I think I can cover more than three or four different roles in attacking positions both wings and even upfront so it’s really up to Ange to see where I could fit in. I’m open to anything, I’m just going to work hard and see what happens,” he said.

Also competing for a role in the attacking positions is former Perth Glory forward Jesse Makarounas, who is looking forward to joining up with star players Archie Thompson and Marcos Flores.

“(Thompson) has played for the Socceroos since I was a young boy and I’ve looked up to him. Also players like Flores, I think I can learn a lot from him because he is just a class player. Hopefully they can give me a bit of advice and I can learn from them,” he said.

Having only made four senior appearances for the Glory in 18 months, 18-year-old Makarounas was ecstatic about the opportunity he now has at Victory.

“I had a frustrating time at Glory and didn’t really get the game time I think I deserved. I guess it came down to having some good players in my positions like (Shane) Smeltz and (Steven) McGarry,” he said.

“Obviously the opportunity came up for me to join Victory which I think is the perfect set-up for me in the way the team plays football. It’s a great set-up for me and young players to learn in so I didn’t really see an option not to come.”

Former AIS youth captain Scott Galloway completed the trio of signings and described the move as a ‘dream come true’.

“I’m very lucky that Ange has picked me to come to Melbourne Victory, which has always been a club I have looked up to and always wanted to play for and to get my first pro-contract at the club is unbelievable for me,” the 17-year-old said.

The full-back, who can also deputise in defensive midfield, had a trial lined up at Reading in the English Premier League but pushed it aside to join Victory.

“I didn’t get approached until a week and a half ago. I got a call from Paul Trimboli and within seconds I knew that’s where I wanted to be and within a few days the paperwork was through and I was flown over,” he said.

“I think I’ll see how it goes. I think if I can prove myself, then why not? I’ve trained with an A-League team before and I thought I showed I could match it with those types of boys.

“I’ve got to keep improving and impress the coach and then will hopefully make the squad and I got to take it with both hands and not let it slip through.”