Swiss defender Leo Lacroix joined Western United on the park for the first after completing Australia’s 14-day hotel quarantine following his arrival into the country from Switzerland.
Lacroix, who has played in the Champions League and Europa League, stands an impressive 197cm tall, or 6ft 6in.
The 29-year-old speaks six languages and is settling well into life in Melbourne, accompanied by his young family.
“I’m happy to be here to start training with the team. It was long between the transfer and the travel, but now I am happy to be here,” he said.
“The first day [of travel] was long for my daughter and my kids, but in the end we are happy to be here and begin this new adventure.
“The club is a very good organisation and all the people welcomed me with a great heart and smile. All people are positive.
“It’s a good team with qualities and a mix of experienced and young players so I think really, we can do something very good this year. I will give my best to help the team this year.”
Lacroix has accrued vast experience in Europe, featuring in the top flight in Switzerland and France as well as the German second division.
He has also represented the Swiss national team, and Western United Head Coach John Aloisi has already seen his experience and quality shine on the training pitch.
“We’re really excited to have him here. We obviously watched him play when he was in Sion and in France, and we liked what we saw and it’s great to have him here finally,” he said.
“He’s certainly impressed so far and I’m sure he’ll quickly get to know what we’re trying to do as a team.”
As well as his defensive abilities, Aloisi hinted at the threat Lacroix will impose from attacking set pieces with his height and aerial prowess.
“He’s going to be great defending in the box but also attacking corners and free-kicks. It’s good to have someone so tall,” he added.
“He’ll bring a lot of presence obviously, but he’s very good with the ball. His experience, he’s played Champions League football. So that added experience and having a leader out there and coaching from the back is important as well.”
Aloisi has also relished the opportunity to practice his Spanish with Lacroix, further aiding the ease of communication with the new star defender.
Lacroix will continue to prepare to train with his new teammates in preparation for United’s season opener against Melbourne Victory on November 20.
Season memberships will go on sale this Thursday.