No joking around

Perth Glory midfielder Adriano Pellegrino may be club’s self-proclaimed prankster but, as last week’s spectacular strike against Melbourne showed, the 24 year old means business on the pitch and has some serious firepower to prove it.

Perth Glory midfielder Adriano Pellegrino may be club-s self-proclaimed prankster but, as last week’s spectacular strike against Melbourne showed, the 24 year old means business on the pitch and has some serious firepower to prove it.

Pellegrino has been one of the club-s most consistent contributors this campaign, his first for Perth, and such has been his positive influence Glory Coach Dave Mitchell quickly moved to lock him in for a further two seasons.

A dangerous contributor down the right with quality crosses that have created many of Perth-s successful attacks, no one at Members Equity Stadium would have expected the explosive finish he produced to seal the win against Melbourne. Despite being herded onto his non-preferred foot Pellegrino managed to unleash an unstoppable strike into the top corner to bring the home fans to their feet.

Sitting next to his midfielder in the post-match press conference, Mitchell was asked what he thought of the goal and jokingly referred to it as a ‘fluke’, but the Glory coach was deadly serious when he said Pellegrino was one of the ‘finds of the season’.

The goal making highlight reels around the country, while also giving Glory the shot in the arm it needed as they strive to reach their first A-League finals series.

“It’s (the goal) still floating around, whether it be on the internet or word of mouth,” Pellegrino admitted sheepishly during the week.

“(But) I’m happy with it, it was one of those ones that you never forget, especially my first goal for the Glory.

“I’m still on a high about it and hopefully we can get over to New Zealand this week and get another three points.”

While it hasn-t all gone Perth-s way this season, Pellegrino believes the true character of the team is shining through and recent performances proved the quality and commitment of the playing group.

Pellegrino has shown his versatility after starting the season in central midfield before making the right wing his own. It was a challenge he relished and is enjoying the added freedom to create attacking moves.

“It’s all about confidence I guess, the more you get the ball out there, the more (goal) assists you get, of course you start playing better,” he said.

“At the start of the season, I was in the middle, probably doing a lot more running and hard work and not so much freedom on the ball where I can express myself.

“Mitch put me out to get a bit more freedom out there and to be able to set up a few goals now and … as the weeks go on, you get more match time.

“(I’ve) just grown in confidence … (and) that’s how the goal came about, you get more confidence, you stick your head up and have a hit.”

It has been a year of big moves for Pellegrino. Following a stint with Greek second division club Panahaiki he returned home to South Australia and joined Metro Stars in the state league. His form catching the attention of Glory coaching staff and an invitation to Perth-s tour of China ensued. With his quality confirmed a move west was next and it has proved to be beneficial for both club and player.

“(It was) a bit of a reality check going back to the local league for a little bit,” Pellegrino admitted.

“I guess sometimes you’ve got to take a step backwards to go forward and that’s what I did, I took a step backwards in the local league and did well and got my opportunity at Glory.

“The club had a few injuries when I first came over so I started playing and just proved myself and kept my spot from there.”

“Mitch gave me my chance and I want to do well under him and hopefully I can finish out my career here in Perth,” he said.

And as for pranking his team-mates, Pellegrino revealed that he and partner in crime Nick Rizzo had been targeting Brazilian playmaker Amaral of late, especially as the pair speak Italian and are the only two players who can communicate with their team-mate, who speaks Italian but only a little English.

“Me and Rizz get on really well,” Pellegrino said. “We’ve had a few pranks in the change rooms and moved people’s cars at training and that sort of thing.

“We’ve been trying to target Amaral in the last month or so but it hasn’t been working because he just laughs it off, he doesn’t take anything seriously.

“When he came here I think I was a bit reluctant, I was a bit scared of him because he was such a big player. In the last month or so he’s come out of his comfort zone.

“Amaral is a superstar, he’s played at some of the biggest clubs in the word, and had 31 caps for Brazil. He’s very close friends with Rivaldo and Ronaldinho and he speaks to them all the time.

“Rizzo and I were at Amaral-s house having a barbecue and he was speaking to Rivaldo on the phone and we were in the background screaming and being stupid and stuff.

“It’s disappointing for the club that he’s injured but hopefully Glory will keep him on next season… he’s a really nice person and he wants to stay here.”