Aussies Abroad: Madaschi driven by Socceroos dream

Australian defender Adrian Madaschi believes regular football in the K-League will help his ambition of representing his country again.

Australian defender Adrian Madaschi believes regular football in the K-League will help his ambition of representing his country again.

The 29-year-old joined Jeju United in January after an impressive 10-week stint with the Melbourne Heart in the Hyundai A-League.

And with five Qantas Socceroo caps to his name - the last of which came in August 2009 in a 3-0 friendly win over Ireland in Limerick - Madaschi is determined to add to his account.

"Being part of the Socceroos team again is something that drives me every day," Madaschi said.

"I would never deny that. Being in the K-League is definitely a positive. There are a lot of players here who are involved with the Socceroos at the moment and getting their chances.

"I'm working hard and I hope to get that opportunity as well. I think I have the qualities to play for Australia and I just want to get the opportunity to show what I can do.

"My main objective is to get back into the Socceroos side and I think the K-League is a good platform to do that.”

Socceroos boss Holger Osieck has shown a liking to selecting Asian-based players, as evidenced in his side that beat Saudi Arabia 4-2 in February, where seven of the starting line-up played their club football in either Japan, South Korea, China or the United Arab Emirates.

That will help Madaschi's cause, as will consistent first-team football for Jeju, who top the K-League after the first six matches of the season.

But while his heart is set on Australia, Madaschi is clearly loving life in Korea.

"The club is run extremely well. The facilities are fantastic and if I compare them to something I've experienced, they would be on par with 90 per cent of the Serie A clubs in Italy," he said.

"The pitches, the training facilities, the medical staff and equipment… It's second to none. The club has been very welcoming and allowed my transition to be very comfortable.

"There's four foreigners at the club, three Brazilians and myself. We have all got our own villa, based on the club premises. It's really fantastic. It's a case of going two minutes up the road for training.

"The people of Jeju have been really nice too. They have been very welcoming and within the club itself, from the president to the people that work in the office, they make you feel really at home. It's been great."

Unfortunately, a pulled quad has kept the former Partick Thistle and Portogruaro defender on the sidelines in recent weeks.

"I bonded with the team straight away and my initial three games were really good. I was happy with the way things had gone," he said.

"To pick up that injury was (frustrating). It is something that we don't really want to push and the medical staff have been cautious."

He may have missed Saturday's 3-2 away win over Pohang Steelers but Madaschi believes that result and another upcoming battle on the road at FC Seoul - who sit third - will provide an indication of just how good Jeju United are.

"The results have gone very well so far. There's some big teams here - Jeonbuk Motors, FC Seoul, Ulsan Hyundai and the Pohang Steelers… Jeju's intentions are to challenge for a title but then again, you have got to respect the other big clubs too."

Success at club level is no doubt something Madaschi would welcome again.

After winning promotions from the Serie C2 and Lega Pro Prima Divisione (formerly the Serie C1) in his five years with Portogruaro, the Perth-born player then went through the pain of relegation with the Venice-based club last season.

For a club that attracts anywhere from 400 to 1500 fans on a home match day, entering Serie B for the first time was a big thing for Portogruaro, but sadly their stay in Italy's second-tier was a brief one.

"They were an important part of my career. In my five years there, it was consistent growth as a player."

"For such a small club initially, myself and the other players achieved extremely important things. It was disappointing in the end because for the most important year of the club's history, the club could have been run in a better way.

"The team had the potential to remain in Serie B but a lot of the things going on behind the scenes were not right. That did not allow the team to be very comfortable."

That brought an end to Madaschi's career in Italy, where he played for five different clubs.

Initially joining Atalanta as a 15-year-old from the Perth Soccer Club, loan stints at Monza and Pistoiese followed, while he also played for Grosseto at the end of a three-year spell in Scotland.

He also played for Dundee United and made over 50 appearances for Partick Thistle during his time in the UK, and Madaschi points to playing at Celtic Park remains a career highlight.

"Playing against Celtic in front of 60,000 people was fantastic. Hearing them sing before the game made your hairs stand up. They are experiences you want to tell your grandkids when you are older."

The well-spoken Madaschi is very positive about his football experience in Scotland and he provides a similar message when quizzed about his time in Australia.

In his nine games with Melbourne Heart, the club notched seven victories as his organisation, communication and calmness at the back was crucial.

He recalls his time at the club with joy and also stated he would like to come back to Australia at some point in his career.

For now though, Madaschi is determined to do well for Jeju United in South Korea. His hope of representing Australia again is a huge motivation and and if he can stay fit, his dream might just become a reality.