Cristian Volpato Roma, News Socceroos 2022, Qatar World Cup, video, Awer Mabil,
It was a hugely exciting week for Australian rules football, with rising star Cristian Volpato making waves around the world as he scored his first goal for Italian giants Roma.
Now serious questions remain over his international future – and whether the Socceroos can capitalize on his breakthrough in one of Europe’s biggest leagues.
Meanwhile, veteran Socceroo Trent Sainsbury delivered a performance of a lifetime, as there were massive moves in the transfer market for other Australians.
Here are all the latest news from our Roo Radar!
VOLPATO “OPEN FOR DISCUSSION” WITH ROOS
Sydney-born playmaker Cristian Volpato put his name on the spotlight when he scored his first goal for senior Roma, just three minutes after coming off the bench for his second Serie A cap.
Volpato gently hit a clean half-volley into the net after a corner kick bounced off him high in the box, sparking a comeback against Hellas Verona to draw 2-2.
The 18-year-old became the youngest goalscorer in the Italian top flight this season and the first Australian to score in the competition since Mark Bresciano at the end of 2009.
Now Australian fans are desperately hoping the teenage sensation, coached by legendary Jose Mourinho and mentored and managed by Roma great and Italian Francesco Totti, will choose to play for Australia over the country of his heritage.
Volpato grew up in Australia until the age of 16, where he failed to make his mark at Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC academies. After a growth spurt, he caught the eye of Roma and quickly became one of the famous club’s most promising talents.
The Italian national team – reigning European champions – are unlikely to give him a good opportunity to play at the World Cup later this year.
With two unmissable World Cup qualifiers next month, Volpato would be a bold addition to under-fire coach Graham Arnold’s Socceroos squad – but could prove a masterstroke for the long-term future of Australia.
The nation handing Volpato his first international cap will secure his allegiance going forward – but it will be convincing the youngster where his future should lie that is the tricky task for the Socceroos, ranked well below the Italian giants.
He was set to join the Olyroos in Dubai last October but Roma stopped him from joining as he fell outside the official FIFA windows.
And he has already been called up to represent an Italian junior international team, only to miss out through injury.
“I was born in Sydney to Italian parents and have always taught Italian values,” Volpato recently told KeepUp.
He added: “I’m focusing on club football and getting into the first team. That’s my focus for now.
“I am always open to discussion. But my club football is what I focus on now.
With Volpato improving as the weeks go by, time is running out for the Socceroos to lock him in.
Trent Sainsbury sparked wild celebrations as his Belgian side KV Kortrijk returned to winning ways with a stunning 5-0 derby win over Zulte Waregem.
Kortrijk had not won in seven games – with Sainsbury out of the side for three of them – but the Australian sparked their dominating victory with a pair of first-half goals from set pieces.
The first was a header fired towards the back post in the 17th minute, the second seeing him unmarked to tap home at the back post when a corner headed his way.
Waregem centre-back Cameron Humphreys was sent off after two first-half bookings as Sainsbury’s side secured their biggest win of the season.
Sainsbury was named man of the match and secured a place in the league’s Team of the Week – and he featured prominently in chaotic scenes of celebration.
AUSSIE DUO SET FOR GERMAN COLLABORATION
Olyroos star Connor Metcalfe is leaving for Germany next season, having signed a deal to join FC St. Pauli – where he will join Socceroos star Jackson Irvine.
Versatile midfielder Metcalfe will see out the current Men’s A-League season with Melbourne City before the move.
Metcalfe earned his first Socceroos cap in June 2020, before playing all three Tokyo Olympics games with the Olyroos a month later.
St Pauli are pushing for promotion to Germany’s top flight – having not played in the Bundesliga since 2011 – but this weekend fell out of the promotion spots with a 3-0 defeat.
Irvine was taken off the bench to stem the bleeding against a tough Hannover 96 side.
Metcalfe is not the only Olyroos youngster to land a European transfer in recent days, with former Sydney FC starlet Joel King making his debut for new club Odensk BK over the weekend.
The Danish club triggered a six-figure release clause in his Sydney contract after the 21-year-old left-back made his Socceroos debut in January.
Unfortunately, his debut came in a 2-0 loss to FC København.
MABIL PROMISES ‘LOTS OF GOALS’ – AND SPAIN MOVES
Socceroos flier Awer Mabil thought he had scored a 91st-minute winner in the Turkish Super Lig after coming off the bench, only for a 97th-minute penalty for the Australian’s sensational opener.
Mabil came off the bench in the 71st minute to take second place from Konyaspor, with his lowly Kasimpasa trailing 3-2.
A penalty leveled the ledger, before Mabil cut inside the edge of the box and sent the ball into the net to give his side a 4-3 lead.
But deep in a long stoppage time, Konyaspor received a handball penalty, which they netted with the game’s final kick.
Nonetheless, Mabil’s goal was a reminder of what he can bring to the Australian national team after a difficult year in club football – and he could be ready for a move from Spain soon.
Mabil fell out of favor at Danish club FC Midjtylland last year after six successful seasons there, after indicating he would not sign a long-term contract extension and wanted to try new challenges.
“I went through a period in Denmark which was a bit difficult for many reasons, but now that I’m in Turkey I’m ready to enjoy my football again and continue my career,” Mabil said.
“I’ve been in Denmark for a long time, I’ve helped the club a lot, we’ve achieved a lot and I’m very grateful to the club. turned against the political side of things last year.
He was often left out of the first team last season or given token minutes on the bench, and had not played for nearly four months before his Turkey debut this month.
But a loan deal was agreed on the final day of the transfer window, with Mabil set to take advantage of the less tactical and larger football on offer in the country.
“I really enjoyed making my debut and it felt really good because I can express myself here,” Mabil said last week.
“I faced 10 individual situations in the space of 30 minutes. It thrilled me because that’s what I live for: dribbling, assisting and scoring goals. It’s my job as a winger.
“With hard work, I can really get a lot of assists and a lot of goals here. This league suits me.
Reports claim that Mabil has signed a deal with an unnamed top Spanish club – believed to be Cadiz or Alavez – for next season, after his deal with Midjtylland expired.
That would see him join glover Mat Ryan as two Australians in the Spanish Premier League, although Cadiz and Alavez both face the prospect of relegation this campaign.