Friday, 27 July 2012
Argentine midfielder Marcos Flores is about to walk the fine line between love and hate after signing with Melbourne Victory for next year's A-League season.
The 26-year-old played the 2010-11 season with Adelaide and there he won the Johnny Warren Medal as the competition's best player as well as the hearts of the South Australian fans.
They fell for his prodigious soccer skills as well as his charm, endearing himself by turning up to local junior training sessions and asking for a kick.
The feelings were mutual with Flores, prior to his departure for a big money deal with Chinese club Henan Jianye, penning an open letter to United supporters.
"I love this club and the city of Adelaide, I'm leaving behind so much..." he wrote.
But joining their arch-rivals Victory for two seasons won't sit well with United.
Flores donned his new strip on Friday for his first training session, with coach Ange Postecoglou delighted to be able to snare the attacking maestro with the money freed up by the departures of Harry Kewell and Carlos Hernandez.
"He's a damn good player," said Postecoglou.
"As well as being successful we want to play fairly entertaining and attacking type football and you need players who have that special capability of opening up games and creating opportunities.
"With Marcos in the team it gives us some extra ammunition in that area."
Flores said he believed he could replicate the same success he had in Adelaide with his new Australian club.
"Adelaide was a good experience for myself and now I'm under a successful coach and the team have great ambition and I expect to do more and give all I have to the team to try to win," he said.
He said despite signing with United's fierce rivals he was a professional player who would give his all to his new team.
"Some people will still love me and some will hate me but this is life."
Postecoglou thought he was going to miss the chance to lure Flores to Melbourne because although he was unhappy in his one season in China, he had to negotiate a release.
He said Flores and Socceroos defender Mark Milligan were top of his wish-list and felt "blessed" to get them both on board.
Victory hosts Adelaide at Etihad Stadium in round three.