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In the lead up to the 2013-14 season, join us as we count down the best 15 players in the A-League, as voted for by Goal and Sportal.com.au journalists and writers.

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Coming it at No.9 in our countdown of the Top 15 players in the A-League is Albanian marksman Besart Berisha, who dominated headlines for all the right and wrong reasons in his first season at Brisbane Roar.

Signed by Ange Postecoglou from Arminia Bielefeld, few in Australia - casual punters and media experts

Besart Berisha

 
Club Games Goals
Besart Berisha [2011-]
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alike - had heard of the man born in Pristina in the old Yugoslavia, but he soon made everyone sit up and take notice.

Banging in 21 goals in 29 appearances during his maiden campaign in Australia, Berisha provided the cutting edge which helped to propel an already gifted Roar team to their second successive A-League crown.

After opening his account in Australia with goals against Sydney and Gold Coast, he truly announced his arrival as a force to be reckoned with when he netted four goals in the 7-1 rout of Adelaide United, including a hat-trick in the space of six first-half minutes.

As if his goals weren't enough, a passionate, occasionally volatile temperament endeared him further to Roar supporters. In January last year he infamously invited Sydney FC's Pascal Bosschaart to settle the pair's perceived differences in the tunnel post-match, a flashpoint which resulted in a one-match ban for the Brisbane striker.

After failing to find the back of the net in the first two matches of the 2011-12 finals series, Berisha saved his best for last, but more of that Grand Final-winning performance later.

Strengths

One of the best natural finishers to grace the competition in its short existence, Berisha has a poacher's knack of seizing any opportunity, no matter how improbable, to tuck the ball in the back of the net, a gift which went undiscovered or unemployed during stays at Hamburg and Burnley.

But far from just a simple 'fox in the box', Berisha can also score from outside the area and with his head and possesses all the other qualities required of a modern centre-forward - strength, pace, a high workrate and the ability to bring team-mates into play with his hold-up work and intelligence.

Defining moment

Attempting to become the first club to retain the A-League title, the Roar were trailing 1-0 to surprise grand finalists Perth Glory before the intervention of Berisha, who headed home the equaliser with six minutes remaining in normal time, before winning a penalty in the seventh minute of injury time and duly converting it to seal another dramatic victory at Suncorp Stadium.

Debate raged as to whether or not the Albanian dived to win the spotkick, but one thing everyone could agree on was the extent of his impact on the competition, and Roar fans will be hoping for more of the same in 2013-14 after a less spectacular return last season.

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