Isaias looks to celebrate Australian citizenship with Victory win
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Isaias looks to celebrate Australian citizenship with Victory win

It's not often fathers and daughters get Australian citizenship on the same day, but Adelaide United captain Isaias Sanchez could not have looked much happier when he took the oath, his three-year-old daughter Vega by his side, in a ceremony at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Both Vega and one-year-old Julen were in attendance, but the latter is already an Australian citizen. Isaias, who came to Adelaide in 2013, was a permanent resident when his son was born, but only on a work permit when his daughter arrived.

Adelaide United's Isaias has just become an Australian citizen.

Adelaide United's Isaias has just become an Australian citizen.Credit:AAP

As curtain-raisers for a must win A-League match it was unusual, but Isaias is not a run-of-the-mill player.

And if Melbourne Victory are to seize their chance to go to the top of the A-League table on Wednesday night, they will have to ensure that the slim, technically adroit midfielder does not get the chance to celebrate his new nationality by taking control of the game.

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Isaias is a busy, clever, skilful player who is at the heart of everything Adelaide do.

He sits deeper than the other midfielders, is always ready to be the first receiver as Adelaide clear from defence and is their conductor in the back half and centre of the pitch.

Not everything goes through him, but its enough to give any team that shuts him down a fair chance of slowing Adelaide.

The 31-year-old has enjoyed career highlights in South Australia, winning the A-League championship and FFA Cup with the Reds, and he admits that when he arrived in 2013 he didn't anticipate such success - nor becoming an Australian citizen.

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''I am really happy at the moment for me and my family. It's really a special day for us, and I hope to celebrate tomorrow with three points.

''The first time I arrived here it was more like another adventure in my career. But now my thoughts are different, I am hoping that I would like to grow my family here, so I have changed my mind.

''It's a lovely country. I would like to grow my kids here because it's a safe and healthy country.''

Committed as he is to Adelaide, he knows there are no guarantees that this will be his only club.

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''With football it's hard to say I will stay here for ever, but if I do I will be happy. I hope so, my body feels all right, my head feels all right, I hope I can keep playing for a long time.''

Adelaide have a poor recent record against Victory. Kevin Muscat's team have won their last three encounters and not lost in their previous seven visits to Hindmarsh.

''We didn't get much results, but I think we are playing good football and results will arrive soon," Isaias said.

''We know they have experienced, high quality players up front, but I know about us as a team, we believe in our group, our system, and I think the group is stronger than them.

''There is not much difference between the clubs in the A-League and we believe we can win every game we play.''

Like every high profile import who gets Australian citizenship, Isaias would love to be considered for the national team but knows that at his age it is unlikely. Still, he can still dream.

''Of course, I know it's difficult. The Socceroos have an amazing squad now, and in my position they have quality players, amazing players, they are mostly playing in Europe so it is very difficult.

''But I like to compete and have big goals, so it's one of my next goals.''

Michael Lynch is The Age's chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing

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