He added: “A war that took its toll. A lot of people lost their lives, a lot of people lost their homes – Croatian, Serbian, Muslim. Everyone lost their lives, some relatives, close people. Some lost houses and everything.

"It's not something we talk about. It's not something you go bragging about. You move on. You look at bigger, better things. You look at the future to try to forget the past.

"You try to build something beautiful in the future that you can talk to your kids about so you don't have to talk about the bad things.

"You want them to grow up in a nice, peaceful, positive environment."

Degenek, 24, briefly represented Serbia at youth level before returning to the green and gold which saw him go to Russia 2018 with the Socceroos.

At club level, he graduated from Bonnyrigg White Eagles to join the AIS before a dream move to VfB Stuttgart as a teenager which later took him to 1960 Munich.

A switch to Yokohama F Marinos saw Degenek eventually reunited with Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou but straight after the World Cup, Red Star Belgrade signed him on a three year deal.

"I grew up a Red Star fan," he said. "Not just me but my whole family supports Red Star and hopefully my kids will as well.

“When the draw came out… Napoli has never won it, Paris has never won it, Liverpool has won it five times. Look at it financially, those clubs have the financial ability to win whatever they want when they want

“For us, it’s different. One Napoli player cost 60 million, our whole squad cost 44. That doesn’t matter, when you put in the history, the fans, what this club has done and what this club stands for, it’s unbelievable.

“That’s why us players, we play with heart – we don’t play for the money. It’s nice to be a part of this club at this moment."