Berisha is the ultimate A-League villain

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Besart Berisha has finally found his groove with Western United, but the star striker is the villain of most stories.

Former Melbourne Victory golden boy Berisha drove the dagger deep into the heart of his old club with two goals in a 3-1 triumph.

Victory barely had time to celebrate their initial one-goal advantage over Western United before the Green and Blacks had pegged them back into place, and it was Berisha who was the ultimate villain.

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Berisha who scored 13 goals for Victory during his time there between 2014 and 2017 was beloved for his intensity and passion among the fans.

A key component of Victory’s attacking force, upfront with James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses, Berisha was unstoppable in his form and ability to find the back of the net.

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The double lethal header Berisha secured against his former squad secured his position as the villain in the Westgate Derby narrative, after United won their last game against Victory in round five.

Yet he still around for bigger opportunities, making himself a beloved villain for Victory fans and increasing his likeability among new United fans.

United manager Mark Rudan paid tribute to Berisha.

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“He’s got a likeability factor as far as I am concerned, he is everyone’s arch-enemy and I like that,” he said.

“The more people throw stones at myself or Bes or our club, it’s like kryptonite for us.

“We needed to get the result today, that was the most important thing.”

The once navy-blue hero was now a villain in green and black.

Berisha’s success with Victory did not transfer over international waters during his stint in Japan with Sanfreece Hiroshima.

Benched for most of his time in the club, it’s not at all surprising that a decline in performance would be visible.

Signing with United at the start of the season, it was obvious Berisha would not just go back to playing the same type of football he demonstrated with Victory.

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Berisha’s shooting and passing accuracy have gone down 7.3 and 5.4 respectively but that has not stopped him from scoring.

With four goals out of six appearances so far this season, being out of play for just over a year has not stopped Berisha from doing what he does best.

After being subbed off against Central Coast Mariners with a bizarre stare down with Rudan, Berisha’s intensity and passion have not dissipated in the time he has been off the pitch.

For Rudan the time Berisha spent sidelined has impacted the way he plays for his new club.

“Bes, he’s a competitor and a winner,” Rudan said.

“But he needs to understand that the last eight to twelve months for him haven’t gone the way he wished.

“There are parts of his game he needs to change to be more effective for United as a club.”

Feature Image Credit: Western United

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Suzanna Telai
Football enthusiast and student journalist, covering Western United for the 2019/20 A-League season