When it comes to goal scoring exploits, it hasn’t taken long for City striker Bruno Fornaroli to make his mark on the Hyundai A-League.
Fornaroli etched himself into the history books with a sensational match-winning treble against Sydney FC, becoming the first player to score 20 goals in the Hyundai A-League regular season.
What makes the feat all the more impressive, is that the Uruguayan surpassed the previous record of 19 – jointly held by Besart Berisha and Shane Smeltz – with five matches still to play before the Finals Series.
It isn’t the only record Fornaroli has broken during his first season in Australian football. The 28-year-old took just over half a season to score against every A-League club, whilst surpassing Mark Viduka in becoming the fastest player to reach 12 goals in Australian domestic league history.
Fornaroli has been the driving force behind a rampant City attack which has found the back of the net a whopping 54 times this season, with The Age chief football writer Michael Lynch suggesting the Uruguayan ace could already be one of the A-League’s best ever forwards.
“The record books now say there has never been a more effective A-League striker than Bruno Fornaroli,” Lynch wrote. “Is he also the best specialist forward to have ever played in the A-League? Certainly no striker has ever had a season like the Uruguayan is having now.”
“The Uruguayan ranges far and wide, in the way (Archie) Thompson and Berisha do. He has close control and dribbling skills that few could match. He is strong, like Smeltz and Berisha, surprisingly so for a man of his size, and is also good in the air where his sense of timing and placement, more than height, is his best asset.
“As one agent – who did not wish to be named – put it on Sunday: ‘‘Ask any coach in the A-League if they would prefer to have the Del Piero who came to Sydney or the Fornaroli who is currently at Melbourne City and they would all say they would prefer Bruno.’’
It is a sentiment echoed by The Australian’s Ray Gatt, who lauded ‘El Tuna’s’ impact during his maiden A-League season.
“Statistically, you cannot argue against the fact the Melbourne City striker has now had a bigger on-field impact in the national competition than the likes of world-renowned stars Alessandro Del Piero, Dwight Yorke, Emile Heskey and Juninho,” he wrote.
“In just his first season in Australia, Fornaroli has captured the imagination of the fans with his goalscoring feats, helping to drive Melbourne City into championship contention.
“With five games still to go before the playoffs, it appears inevitable he will add considerably more to his tally and set a target that will likely take years to surpass.”
City Head Coach John van’t Schip was also among the kind words, praising his star striker for his positive attitude both on and off the pitch.
“Up front he’s always available to play the ball into,” the Dutchman said after the win against Sydney. He fights, he’s the first one to roll up his sleeves … to go out and do the dirty work. And of course he’s scoring goals. He’s been great for us and the A-League.”
“Off the field he was accepted from the start by everyone at the club. He is also a boy who is always very helpful. He is a very positive factor.”
Despite his record-breaking exploits and contribution to an important three points against Sydney, a modest Fornaroli had a more personal reason to celebrate his maiden A-League treble.
“I am happy to score a hat-trick but most important is our win,” Fornaroli told the Herald Sun’s Matt Windley after the final whistle.
“My mum is here today in Australia. It is the second time she has seen me play but I didn’t score last time. Now she has seen me score, so I am very happy.”