It's fast: Bobo, Martinez praise A-League
Photo Source: AAP
It's becoming the collective, slightly astonished refrain of import players arriving in Australia from more-established leagues across the globe.
New marquee players Nicolas Martinez and Bobo have added their voices, labelling the A-League as one of the fastest and most-intense competitions they've seen.
The pair will debut against each other in Saturday night's epic Sydney derby, Argentine playmaker Martinez lining up for Western Sydney and Brazilian striker Bobo spearheading Sydney FC's attack at ANZ Stadium.
This weekend kicks off the 12th season of a league making big enough strides to lure home a cohort of past and present Socceroos including Tim Cahill, and to get national coach Ange Postecoglou insisting the standard rivals that of many European leagues.
Bobo, after six years playing for Turkish giants Besiktas and three with Brazilian side Corinthians, was impressed based on his pre-season training and match experience.
"I've played in several places, and this is the place they run the most," the 31-year-old told AAP.
"They run fast - it's really intense.
"A-League players have good technique and their football is based on strength, power and speed."
Martinez, growing up in Buenos Aires playing street football with older brother and former Boca Juniors forward Juan Manuel Martinez, has plied his trade in Greece, Spain and Argentina.
After playing in the Wanderers' 2-0 pre-season loss to Newcastle a fortnight ago, the 29-year-old was taken with the professionalism and quality of a competition just over a decade old.
"It lives only 12 or 13 years. In another country, maybe you need 40 or 50 years," Martinez said.
"It grows very fast - that surprised me.
"Physically, it's very hard. If you are not fit, you can't play here.
"That's why I'm working harder. I want to play the best season of my career."
Martinez estimated the biggest crowd he'd played in front of was about 48,000 for Argentine outfit Independiente, far less than the 60,000 or more at expected at ANZ Stadium.