Melbourne Cosmopolitans: City capable of matching it in Europe says Reis

Well travelled Melbourne City defender Nuno Reis believes that the runaway A-League leaders would be capable of matching it in a number of European leagues.

Eight points clear with a game in hand over second-placed Central Coast Mariners, City can mathematically seal a first-ever A-League Premiership and just the second men’s trophy in their combined Heart/City history with two more wins – or sooner if other results go their way. 

Should coach Patrick Kisnorbo’s side down Wellington Phoenix this afternoon at AAMI Park, that potential sealer would arrive against the Mariners next Saturday. 

With a goal difference of +28, much has been made of City’s attacking prowess this season – Western Sydney Wanderers the only side to be within 15 on the goals against standings – but their defence of Reis, Curtis Good, Scott Jamieson, Scott Galloway,  and Tom Glover have been equally as impressive- conceding the third-fewest goals in the competition. 

“Goody has been a fantastic player,” Reis said. “For me, he’s one of the best central defenders in the A-League. 

“He’s an international player, he’s a fantastic player, he’s a good person. I think when we have one guy next to you that can give you the confidence to play, help you during the game. I think your game becomes easier.” 

Reis, who was born in Switzerland to Portuguese parents, is a product of Sporting CP’s famed youth academy and was a fixture of Portugal’s youth national sides – playing every minute of every game for the U20 side that was defeated 3-2 after extra time in the final of the 2011 World Cup. 

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While the now 30-year-old never actually made a senior appearance for the Iberian giants – Sporting, alongside FC Porto and Benfica, part of the Três Grandes of Portuguese football – he did go on to log stings in the Belgian, Portuguese, Bulgarian and Greek top flights.

In 2015-16, the hulking defender helped FC Metz earn promotion to Ligue 1. 

In short, he’s seen a lot of football in a lot of places. 

“Melbourne City could play in the first league in Portugal, even the first league in Greece,” he said.  

“The second division in France, it’s tough to play there but I think Melbourne could do it.

“Because I think we have a team that can adapt, no matter what. We can adapt to physical styles, we can adapt to quick games, slow games or possession-based games. 

“That’s why Melbourne City is a balanced team.

“I think we have a little bit of everything. We’re physical, we have a lot of players who have good technique. We are a team that works together no matter what.

“Before I came to the A-League I was watching some games – not from this season, the season before – and I saw that there were a lot of physical challenges, a lot of running.

“But I think this season there’s been a changing of style. Teams like to have more ball-possession games. They know when they need to attack, they are tough defensively. So, I think the A-League is improving in a lot of abilities.” 

Signing a three-year deal with City in January, Reis was a late addition to City’s title-push – not featuring four the squad until their February 7 loss to Newcastle Jets. 

Pushed into action quite soon after he had undergone two weeks of hotel quarantine with his partner and their two children due to a mini-injury crisis befalling City at the time, it was a baptism of fire for the defender but one he embraced  

“When I came here to Melbourne I found a good environment,” he said. “Fantastic teammates, a good staff, directors and all the people working at the club. 

“It was easy to adapt. Not only the professional part but also my personal life as well. 

“[Hotel quarantine] was I think the hardest part. During quarantine, you can’t do too much inside the room. 

“I tried to keep fit once I arrived, to be as fit as possible when I started with the team. Our physical coach sent me some programs to do during the quarantine so I tried to do my best.

“Once I arrived in Melbourne I thought I was fit and I think I started well. 

“To have 14 days with two kids inside a room… you need to find something or some solutions of what you can do with the kids. 

“Because they don’t stop.

“They have a lot of energy, they want to play all the time. And you’re tired – long travel and jet lag. 

“We tried to do some activities in the room with them to keep them busy and then we can rest a little bit as well.”

Enjoying Joey’s coverage of Australian sport? Your support helps keep it possible.
You’re seeing this advert because this is an unpaid, self-published piece.

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne City

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