Kosta Barbarouses is likely to be public enemy no.1 with Melbourne Victory fans when he returns to his former club for the first time in Friday night’s Big Blue.
The New Zealand international controversially swapped navy for sky blue in the off-season after a hugely successful period at Victory where he won a couple of Hyundai A-League titles.
Barbarouses then infuriated fans of the Big V even more by scoring the winner for the Sky Blues in the previous meeting between the two clubs in Sydney earlier this season.
But the pacy attacker isn’t the only former Victory player in the Sydney FC ranks in Friday night’s encounter at AAMI Park.
Versatile Melbourne-born Sky Blues star Paulo Retre started his career as a youth player at Victory in 2011, but never graduated to the first team.
Retre started his Hyundai A-League career at Melbourne City before moving to Sydney FC in 2017 and is now heading into his ninth appearance in this fixture.
“It was a long time ago, I was just a youth boy there [at Victory]. I enjoyed my time as a youngster there, they helped me develop, but I’m Sydney now,” Retre told the Sky Blues’ official website.
“Most of my family don’t really follow anyone in Melbourne, they just follow me now at Sydney FC.
"It’s good to just play in front of family and friends. Hopefully they can come down and watch me play [on Friday night].
“It’s a fixture we always look forward to. Historically the two are the most successful sides in the A-League so every time they play there’s that rivalry to be the better team.
“It’s also fantastic for the fans as well, it’s the game outside of the derby that the fans really enjoy, they like to beat Melbourne and we have to do it for them.”
Sydney head into this clash with an eight point lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder, while they are a massive 19 points and seven places ahead of Victory.
Steve Corica’s side will also be boosted by the return of both Luke Brattan and Rhyan Grant from suspension.
Having won eight of the last 10 Big Blue match-ups, the Sky Blues will be warm favourites to keep that streak going but Retre knows history means nothing in this rivalry.
“There’s a lot of these records around and people have been talking about them but you can’t really look at it as just the Big Blue, it’s just another game and we go there to get the three points,” he said.
“You just try to do your best to win the game, we’ve been in a good run of form lately and hopefully that continues.
“I just want to do my best for the club every week, that’s my main focus.”
Friday, 24 January 2020
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: AAMI Park
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports