Canberra product Marko Milutinovic has continued his rise through the European soccer ranks after signing with Serbian club OFK Belgrade.
The 21-year-old hopes to follow in the footsteps of the club's best exports in former Chelsea and Manchester City stars Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov.
Milutinovic slipped through the academy cracks in Canberra, before packing his bags after school and heading for Europe. The midfielder has more than proved the doubters wrong.
"When I first went over there it's like you're a lone ranger, you have to grow up fast but if you want to do what you love you've got to make sacrifices," Milutinovic said.
"I'm now at a bigger club and one of the oldest in Serbia and playing in the first team. It's a big club with big ambitions and it's taken my career a step further because the standard is definitely a step up.
"The squad is full of experienced guys who've played in top leagues around Europe, so it's good to learn off them. At the moment I'm here and happy where I am but we'll see in the future how it all unfolds."
Milutinovic now speaks fluent Serbian and said he'd love replicate the resumes of some of the club's best players.
"It's an honour to play at a club where guys like Ivanovic and Kolarov have been in the system," Milutinovic said.
"It's an unreal feeling, to think that those players have sat in the same change room and played on the same pitch, hopefully I can take my career that far and I'm working hard to do it."
Milutinovic has returned to Canberra just twice since leaving home three years ago and the Woden Valley junior said it was great to be back in the capital.
"Canberra has changed a bit but it's nice to see my family and my friends are happy for me with the way things are going and know I'm working hard, they're proud of me," Milutinovic said.
"My mum is also a really good cook, so it's been great to be back eating her food."