After spending last Christmas in hotel quarantine, Alex Chidiac is delighted to spend this one on the training track getting ready for a derby against former club Melbourne City.
The talented 22-year-old has spent eight weeks in hotel quarantine over the past two years, due to playing in Spain, Japan and Australia through a pandemic.
But this year she’ll relish a normal footballer’s Christmas: preparing for a game on Boxing Day while on loan with Melbourne Victory.
“Last year I was in hotel quarantine for Christmas and New Year so this year it’s already 100 times better,” Chidiac told AAP.
“But it’s definitely going to be a quiet one.
“It’s is such a huge game in general being the Melbourne derby and obviously against my old side.
“We’re all preparing for another very physical and tough competitive match.”
Former Melbourne City and Adelaide midfielder Chidiac hadn’t originally planned to be in Australia this summer.
The talented playmaker signed with Japanese club JEF United in June but soon found herself deployed at left wing-back, then hardly used at all.
It was another blow for Chidiac, who had previously seen her time at Atletico Madrid ruined by a serious ankle injury.
With a three-month break in Japan, Chidiac sought a loan move to secure much-needed minutes and settled on Jeff Hopkins’ Victory.
“I really wanted to get as much game time in (as possible) to give myself confidence and also prove maybe to the coaching staff there that I can play a little bit higher up the field,” she said.
“But ultimately after a few years of not playing with injury before coming back with Melbourne City earlier this year, I really just wanted to be playing consistent football.”
Chidiac made an immediate impact on her Victory debut, setting up a goal in the round-two derby win and showcasing her trademark creativity and class.
Her second game will also come against City, after she wasn’t allowed into Queensland to face Brisbane Roar, as she hadn’t been in Australia for a full two weeks yet.
The fringe Matilda, whose loan lasts until February 25, looks poised to form a dynamic midfield combination with Kyra Cooney-Cross at Victory, but played down her own hopes of featuring in January’s Women’s Asian Cup.
“My main focus now is just to help Victory as much as I can whilst I’m home and then improve and hopefully have some success over in Japan and we’ll see where that takes me,” Chidiac said.
“Obviously I do want to push for the national team but I’m not sure if I’m really in the picture at the moment after not playing consistent minutes for a long time.
“… I really want to focus on trying to get on the ball as much as possible, create some dangerous opportunities and goalscoring opportunities for my teammates and obviously want to help Victory retain a championship.”