Nuno Reis: Australia feels like our new home

Coming over to Melbourne with a young family was a big decision for Nuno Reis, but now almost a year on from signing, it’s looking like a great move.

With two young daughters now aged seven and four, travelling with a young family was nothing out of the ordinary for Reis and his wife. The move to Melbourne followed spending recent years in Bulgaria, Greece and home country Portugal.

While of course it’s always a big decision both professionally and personally to make the move to a new country, the ‘incredible’ quality of life that Australia had to offer made things a lot easier.

“We spoke a lot about it beforehand,” Reis said.

“The education and living conditions that Australia could offer for our family were perhaps the best in the world, so we didn’t need to think too much about the move because we knew it was going to be great for the kids.”

Barring a trip down the Great Ocean Road for a holiday to Geelong, the COVID restrictions have meant the Reis family haven’t been able to get out and see as much of the country as the would’ve liked, but a year on, they’re enjoying their time in Melbourne.

“We really feel at home here,” Reis said.

“We’ve got some Portuguese friends around which has helped make things easier too.

“The kids are loving school and they are making new friends. Australia definitely feels like our new home.”

On a professional level, the move has also been a great one. Last season saw Reis be a part of a strong City squad that took out both the Premiership and Championship. This marked the first pieces of team silverware the Portugese defender had won in his career, an appearance in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final where he captained his home country against Brazil, was the closest he’d come previously.

While last season may have ended with plenty of success, it didn’t start the same way. Reis’ City debut came in a 1-0 away loss to Newcastle which marked City’s third defeat in a row and fourth in five games.

Remarkably from there, City would go on to lose just once in its next 17 games with Reis playing a key role in keeping things tight at the back for the team. Most often during that period he was partnered with Socceroo Curtis Good, the two forming a formidable defensive duo and causing nightmares for attackers across the league.

“I enjoy playing with whoever it might be; Goody, Rostyn (Griffiths), (Kerrin) Stokes or Jordy Hall,” Reis said.

“Everyone knows their job and what they need to do when they come in. It’s been more of me and Goody last season and this season, but I’m always confident that whoever comes in can do the job.”

Reis’ consistency in defence has seen him become a fan favourite and there were no surprises to see him voted December’s Player of the Month after picking up where he left off in 2020/21 and starting this season strongly.

“It makes me happy to see the fan’s enjoying my performances,” he said, “I just try and play my role and do my best for the team every game.”

His passing from defence has been one of the greatest skills shown in his 29 games in a City shirt, Reis often picking out the likes of Andrew Nabbout and Mathew Leckie on the wings with pinpoint lofted balls from defence.

This is simply a case of years of hard work showing, with Reis crediting his passing ability to years of work throughout his time in the world-renowned Sporting CP Youth Academy.

“We had lots of extra training to improve our passing, whether it be long passing, short passing or just our vision to make those passes,” Reis said.

“It’s something that grew with me through my time in that academy, doing all that extra training every day over six or seven years.”

The numbers show it too, with Reis boasting an impressive 87.2% passing success rate and also contributing seven key passes, including the assist for Nabbout’s wonder-goal back in Round 2.

With another two years still remaining on his contract, fans will no doubt be looking forward to watching Reis look to be a big part in more City silverware in the years to come.

Reis and his City teammates will be in action on Saturday night when they travel to Coopers Stadium to take on Adelaide United. You can tune in via Paramount+.