Panagiotis Kone is eager to rip into his new career challenge with Western United.
Kone was the first signature secured by the A-League expansion team and was immediately tagged with marquee status because of his elite talent.
A star attacking midfielder with 28 caps for Greece and deep playing experience in big soccer leagues across Europe, Kone has experienced just about all that he can at the top level.
While playing for massive clubs such as AEK Athens, Brescia, Bologna and Udinese was the peak of his career, the opportunity that presents at Western United is unique by comparison.
Kone will be the star player in a team that will start from scratch in the A-League next season.
The 31-year-old has the opportunity to set the tone for the franchise from day one and he is keen to get down to business.
“We can write our history because our club is new and I think that is very exciting for me,” Kone told
Star Weekly. “It’s a little bit of a challenge, to create a new team with new players … I’m very excited to be part of this project.”
Kone will be put under the microscope like no other player at Western United.
The marquee player is expected to deliver on the field and off it.
He is ready for whatever is thrown his way.
“I don’t feel pressure – I feel honoured that Western United chose me to be part of the team,” Kone said.
“I will do my best to make all the things that we are dreaming about come true.
“I know my quality as a person and as a player. I will work hard to help my teammates and the team to be successful.”
Kone has signed a two-year deal with Western United.
In town recently for a first look, Kone was even more excited about his move and to be able to call Melbourne home.
He likes how multicultural Melbourne is and can see himself fitting in with the big Greek community.
“Melbourne is a very nice city,” Kone said. “A big part of the city is the Greek community. I’m very pleased to see them and I know what they did for this city. It will feel like my home here.”
Kone plans to lace up the boots on day one of the team’s pre-season.
The former Olympiacos and Lens youth player wants to point the way for his teammates from early on.
“When the pre-season begins, I will be here,” he said. “I will work hard to be ready and I think the results will come.
“I think we will do a very good job and I’m hoping all the fans will come to the stadium to support us.”
Having watched the A-League on television, Kone reckons the style of play will be different to the Italian Serie A, where he spent the bulk of his senior career.
He will need to adapt to what he sees as a more physical league than he has experienced before.
“It’s less tactical than Italy, but physically it’s very strong,” Kone said. “It will be a tough competition and I will enjoy it.”
Western United unveiled a trio of talented youngsters as new signings last week.
Striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, midfielder Sebastian Pasquali and defender Dylan Pierias have committed for United’s inaugural A-League season.