Besart Berisha is set to become an Australian citizen in the New Year, opening the door for Melbourne Victory to chase another visa player for the run in to the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
Berisha, who has been in Australia the required five years, is likely to receive his citizenship on Australia Day, according to a report in Melbourne’s Herald Sun.
The 31-year-old had hoped to be naturalised before the start of the 2016/17 Season, but it now seems like it will go through on January 26, the same day Victory takes on Sydney FC in their annual Big Blue clash at Etihad Stadium.
“I am now five years here and I really enjoy every moment,” Berisha told in the Herald Sun in May.
“I would love to be an Aussie, I enjoy myself here and this is the most important.
“If I’m able to get [citizenship] I will take it. I think being Australian is good.”
While Berisha would now be regarded as an Aussie citizen, it doesn’t mean he becomes available for the Caltex Socceroos, having played 17 times for his native Albania.
But it does mean he is counted as an Australian player on Victory’s roster, giving the club the chance to chase a guest marquee star for the last three months of the campaign.
Victory’s other visa players at the moment are Kiwi international Marco Rojas, Tunisian Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Spanish defender Alan Baro and German attacker Maxi Beister.
Berisha has taken the Hyundai A-League by storm since signing with Brisbane Roar for the start of Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season.
He has scored 85 goals for both Roar and Victory, needing just six more to be the greatest-ever scorer in the competition’s history.
Berisha is currently on four goals andis joint top scorer in the league with four other players after five rounds.