The Australian's A-League writer Ray Gatt is insisting on referring to the Roar's new striker Sergio van Dijk as Serginho. Ray is perhaps Australia's foremost football writer so perhaps he knows something I don't. In fact, doing a google search I see they are all at it Four Four Two, bloggers, everyone. So is Serginho a real name or just one of these Brazilian ones that help this Dutchman (I think he has one Indonesian parent too) to go faster on the field?
Anyway, the A-League seems to be punching up a class this year and attracting - overall - a better class of foreign player. This has come with its success, improved selection skills, lessons learnt from past mistakes and greater focus on the specific skills that will improve a team.
Most teams have learnt not to mix too many nationalities, or at least languages (poor Miron fell into this one). So Melbourne have signed Costa Rican defensive midfielder Jose Luis Lopez to parter their positive experience from last year - Carlos Hernandez. But for me their big signing is Brazilian Ney Fabiano De Oliveira who was tested by Victory in their champions league games against Thai team Chonburi FC. (Funny Melbourne seem to have picked up a few U20s from under Sydney FC's noses).
The star import so far has been Brazilian Cristiano for Adelaide. Also new is 25 year old left back Alemao from the Brazilian first division - imagine that I didn't realise that Brazilians had defenders. Interesting to see how he goes. Adelaide now have 4 Brazilians.
The biggest surprises could come from a Perth team desperate to give their fans something to cheer about. New Argentine Adrian Trinidad won and scored a penalty against Newcastle on the weekend. His new team mates are Eugene Dadi and Amaral. Both are 35. Amaral a central mid-fielder from Brazil has played with Parma and Fiorentina in Italy and Benfica in Portugual. Striker Dadi from Ivory Coast (he is now French) seems to have been around a bit without playing too much in recent years. Unfortunately, Dadi has strained his hamstring.
I am a little concerned about Newcastle. To me they look like they have only half a team. They have 17 players but some seem a little too young expect too much from. I wonder what owner Con Constantine is planning? Anyway, they still have very exciting 21 year old South Korean Song Jin-Hyung (who probably did as much as any to get them through the finals to the championship last year with only 3 games). But gee, this team is going to Asia this year, surely they are buying more players? Their named strikers are 19 and 20.
Sticking to their usual practice, Central Coast haven't gone for any fancy foreigners. Just Bosnich in goal. Sydney too have gambled on locals Aloisi, Bridge and Colosimo.
Wellington have focused on bring home more Kiwis. Plus Adam Kwasnik (Australian) from CCM. And Chinese Leilei Gao formerly of NZ Knights. Brisbane born John McKain is perhaps their best buy - a defender I hoped to see for the Roar.
(This is not meant t be definitive foreign player listing. Turned out to be more of a team review than I intended).