Miloš Ninković tells SBS News about his plans to settle in Australia and his hopes for Russia 2018.
'World Cup Fans' is a special SBS News series running in the lead up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. It looks at the 32 qualifying countries through the eyes of their fans in Australia.
Sydney FC’s Miloš Ninković was named the best footballer in the A-League last year and awarded the Johnny Warren Medal after helping his team win the league and FFA Cup double.
Now, the Serbian superstar says he loves life in Australia so much he's applied to become a citizen.
"I want to finish my career here, maybe to stay after I retire to live here," Ninković told SBS News.
But the 33-year-old hasn’t given up all ties to his homeland. He's still hoping to be on the plane to Russia in June for what would be his second World Cup with Serbia – despite having only played once in their qualification matches.
And with or without him, he’s confident Serbia will do well - even after being drawn in the same group as Brazil.
"I think we have a better chance than Australia to go through," he said.
Ninković, who transferred to Sydney FC in 2015, says he has managed to embrace life in a new country, while still staying true to his roots. He often catches up with friends at restaurants that serve his favourite cuisine after a hard day's training.
"Sometimes I miss Serbian food, Serbian music, Serbian friends, but I have everything here," he said.
Ninković will need to apply for residency in Australia, in order to be on the path to citizenship.
If he’s successful, he's planning on establishing a youth academy with friend Misha Radovic - his former coach from his days playing as a junior in Belgrade.
The pair said the academy wouldn't just be aimed at elite players.
"We would really love to do anything we can for the community here in Australia, to pass on our knowledge and do something special for junior football," Radovic told SBS News.
Before that project is launched though, Ninković is hoping to steer Sydney FC to back-to-back titles and reignite its stalling Asian Champions League campaign.
Then it’s all eyes on Russia; Serbia begins its World Cup campaign against Costa Rica on 17 June.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins 15 June. SBS will broadcast the biggest games, including the opening match, semi-finals and final, live, free and in HD.