Perth Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli says he is living a dream after his “crazy” call up to the Socceroos squad for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Saudi Arabia.
“I have a great feeling, so happy. It’s crazy,” Fornaroli said.
Football Australia is waiting for formal approval from FIFA to allow Uruguay-born Fornaroli, who recently became an Australian citizen, to make his potential international debut next Thursday.
Fornaroli, 34, represented Uruguay at under-17 level but has not played for his country of birth at senior level, which allows him to don the colours of another nation.
“Football Australia has submitted paperwork to FIFA requesting to switch Fornaroli’s international football allegiance from Uruguay to Australia and is anticipating that this will be approved prior to next Thursday’s match against Japan,” FA said in a statement.
“In late 2021 Football Australia underwent through the same process regarding the versatile Gianni Stensness.”
Fornaroli will play for Glory against Brisbane Roar at HBF Park in Saturday’s A-League clash before flying to Sydney the following day.
“At my age, 34, all my career I try to do my best and this massive opportunity coming now is crazy,” Fornaroli said.
“I’m going to enjoy the moment and do my best.”
Fornaroli kept selection secret as he started the citizenship process and kept his focus on Glory.
“That was my first thing, for my club,” he said.
“I didn’t say anything because I wanted to make sure I was in.
“I try also to don’t be excited until the coach called me and say ‘look you’ll be in the squad’.
“Now it is reality. I live in a dream.
“All my career I wait for a moment like this and for sure it will be the biggest moment in my career. As a striker you always need to score but whatever the team needs, I will do it.
“If at some point, if I need to do another job inside or outside, I will do it.
“Is not about me, is about putting Australia in the World Cup.”
As news leaked about his call-up Fornaroli’s phone was bombarded with messages family and friends and when asked to sum up the selection he said: “Australia is home.
“The last seven years people helped my family to feel comfortable. We are very grateful to this country, we love it,” he said.
“My son was born here. He is a real Aussie.”
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said Fornaroli was a star of the A-League with a great fighting and winning mentality.
“He’s a great character and it’s great to have him in the extended squad,” Arnold said.
“The way he holds the ball up, shields the ball, wins free kicks and scores goals … I see it as a massive positive that we’re able to bring him in.”
Arnold has selected a 27-man squad that also includes former Central Coast Mariners midfielder Stensness, now based in Denmark, and other uncapped players Nick D’Agostino, Kye Rowles and Scotland-based Nathaniel Atkinson.