Perth Glory recruit Osama Malik says training under coach Tony Popovic is the hardest he's ever experienced and hopes it will finally allow him to reach his full potential.
Malik has wanted to work under Popovic for years and jumped at the chance to sign with Glory on a three-year deal after his recent stint in Saudi Arabia came to an abrupt end.
The 29-year-old has been part of two FFA Cup-winning sides during his time in Australia.
But the former Melbourne City, North Queensland and Adelaide defender is craving an A-League Championship.
Malik also can't shake the feeling he has more to give on an individual level and he's confident Popovic will help him fulfil his dreams.
"This is my 11th pre-season and is by far the hardest I've ever trained," Malik said.
"You look at the players Popovic has had in the past - he seems to get the best out of them.
"I feel like I've got a bit of unfinished business and I've got a point to prove.
"I felt like Popovic was the man to get me where I want to go.
"If I had finished my career without playing under him, I would have felt like I would have missed an opportunity to grow and improve as a player."
Malik hopes his stint with Glory will involve Championship success.
Glory had the chance to claim it last season - only to go down to Sydney FC on penalties in the grand final.
"I've been in three semis. I've been involved in two teams that have won the FFA Cup. But I've never actually played in a Championship final," Malik said.
"When you've been in the league for that long, you've got that ambition to go higher and win it. It's been elusive at the minute."
Malik endured a challenging time during his recent six-month stint with Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Batin.
But it did come with a silver lining.
"I actually had cousins on my father's side who were living in Saudi," Malik said.
"He's of Sudanese background and a lot of Sudanese go to Saudi to work.
"So it was a great thing to see family that I had never actually met before.
"It was a bit of a family reunion, so I got in touch with the roots. That was one of the best things about going there."
Malik is set to play an important role in defence for Glory this season following the exit of Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic.
Glory's season kicks off on October 13 at home to Brisbane Roar.