Ibini: I'm the strongest I've ever been

Bernie Ibini said months of upper-body work in the gym after his horrific leg injury gave him the strength to power his way to Thursday's "Big Blue" match winner.

Bernie Ibini

Bernie Ibini muscles past Victory defender Alan Baro Source: Getty Images

Battling with two Melbourne Victory defenders in a chase for the ball, the Sydney FC winger practically rag-dolled Melbourne Victory central defender Alan Baro out of the way at Etihad Stadium.

He then beat fullback Leigh Broxham by taking the ball back inside, before smashing it past goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas to clinch a 2-1 win.

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Ibini has always had a height advantage over most of his opponents, but has muscled up since he left to join Club Brugge in Belgium in mid-2015.

Asked if he had done a lot more weights since then and increased his strength, Ibini told The World Game: "Yeah, I've become stronger".

"Obviously when I was injured for a year-plus I had a lot of time available, especially early on in my recovery, because I couldn't really do much with my leg. So I did do quite a bit of upper-body stuff in the gym and I'm definitely stronger now.

"I put on a bit of weight as well, two or three kilograms, and I'm playing at 83 or 84 kilograms now and feeling good."

Ibini said he was stronger now than he had ever been.

"Yeah, definitely," he said. "Being able to do more gym during the time I had out injured helped me then and it's helping me now.

"I liked doing weights before that, but when I was injured it was all I could really do. So I did more in the gym than I'd ever done and I started enjoying it even more."

Ibini said his new found strength to fight for the ball has made all those sessions in the gym worth every bit of sweat and hard work.

"Yeah, exactly right," he said.

"I knew when the ball was in the space I would be able to run on to it and once I shook off the first defender I knew I could get on the inside of the other defender and have the chance to shoot.

"It was a big game and everyone wants to win and coming off the bench like I did, you want to make an impact."

Sydney have expertly managed Ibini's comeback from the badly broken leg and torn ankle ligaments he sustained when tackled in his first training session in Belgium.

He has only started in one of the 10 A-League games he has played this season, but he accepts that in a red-hot, unbeaten side he has to keep working hard to become a regular starter again.

"You can't really argue with it, the way the boys who have started have gone," he said.



"So I'm just going to come on from the bench and do my job and if I start games I'll look to make an impact straight away as well.

"We've got a strong squad and we all know that. We all just play our part and I think that's what has made us so successful this season."


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3 min read
Published 28 January 2017 at 2:56pm
By Greg Prichard