Almost 10 years after arriving in Australia for a planned seven-month stay, Besart Berisha still can’t stop ticking off big scoring milestones in the A-League.
On Saturday evening, the veteran striker – already the A-League’s all-time top scorer – scored his 137th and 138th goals to help Western United to a 4-1 win over Macarthur FC.
In the process, Berisha drew level with, then overtook Rod Brown to snare outright second place on the all-time Australian national league scorers’ list, behind only Damian Mori (240).
“Being second in all Australia, this is something really special,” Berisha said.
“I’m very grateful and, to be honest, it’s hard to always imagine that I can do this because when I came here, honestly I came for a seven-month contract.
“I didn’t know that I was gonna be here so long and I’m so grateful.
“I found joy in Australia, in the A-League, and that’s why I’m still here and I’m really grateful and really humbled to achieve such a success.”
Bar a short stint in Japan in 2018, the A-League has been home for Berisha since he departed German club Arminia Bielefeld for Brisbane in 2011.
Now 35, the former Kosovo international has lost the explosive pace of his younger days, but still has the workrate, competitiveness and goal-poaching nous to be an ever-present threat.
Berisha went scoreless for the first four games of this season but drew upon a similar situation he’d faced while playing under Ange Postecoglou at Brisbane.
“(Postecoglou) just said one thing. ‘Trust me, please put the work in, keep doing (it), do not stop – the moment you stop, that’s it’,” Berisha said.
“I am trying now, always since then also, to follow this kind of rhythm, this instinct, the balance – to keep going, do the right thing in training, keep the focus on and the goals will follow.
“I’m happy that it didn’t let me down because as a striker, I get counted on that (goals).”
In his twilight years, Berisha has relished a late-career link-up with United skipper and attacking maestro Alessandro Diamanti, who he describes as a “magician”.
“I don’t need to talk to him, to shout at him. I know the ball will just come. I just need to do my runs, and that’s amazing,” he said.
“Honestly, this is the way I felt at times in Brisbane with Thomas Broich.”
Now, after four A-League championships – two apiece at Brisbane and Melbourne Victory – Berisha still has sights on one more achievement: snaring another title at his third Australian club.
“This team can do it,” he said.