Melbourne Victory new signing Ola Toivonen says the racist abuse towards his Sweden team-mate Jimmy Durmaz at the World Cup still lives long in his mind.
Toivonen was unveiled in the heart of Melbourne today and said he was looking forward to the pressure with the Big V.
The 32-year-old recently retired from the Swedish national team after 64 games including scoring in the World Cup in Russia just a couple of months ago.
But looking back at the tournament, his abiding memory will be the racist abuse he said former club and country teammate Durmaz experienced after the 2-1 loss to Germany.
Toivonen scored Swede's only goal in the game - a cracking chip into the net which was shortlisted as one fo the goals of the tournament.
But his sidekick Durmaz, who is of Assyrian descent, was blamed for the 95th minute German winner and he reportedly endured insults and death threats in the wake of the defeat.
“The biggest memory I’ll take is Germany beating us 2-1 and one teammate got a lot of racist abuse after the game,” Toivonen said on Thursday.
“We had a decisive game four days later against Mexico and it was a terrific game, we won 3-0 and advanced to the final 16.
“(I’m proud of how) we came together and it really was one whole group who put in an amazing performance against Mexico.”
Toivonen said the A-League offered him an adventure and had turned down options to go to the Middle East or Scandinavia after the World Cup to head Down Under instead.
He also said former PSV Eindhoven teammate Orlando Engelaar influenced him to come to Australia after his experience with Melbourne City.
The 32-year-old is likely to play as a striker for Victory this season after the departure of Besart Berisha.
“The A-League has been stepping up,” he said. “The last couple of years, it’s become bigger in Europe as well and the interest is increasing.
"There’s a big chance to play Asian Champions League was big as well."
He added: "It was a very honest conversation with Kevin Muscat, he told me his thoughts and I told him I was interested, but I needed time in my decision.
“We also need to have patience with the whole process from moving house. Big thanks to him for the understanding for the whole family situation.”