‘Seriously, I wanted to cry in that moment’
BRUNO Fornaroli says he was overwhelmed by his A-League return on Saturday night.
The striker was a 64th minute substitute in City's 4-0 loss to Sydney FC, ending his 166-day sideline stint after breaking his ankle in the FFA Cup.
And while bitterly disappointed with his side's loss, Fornaroli said he couldn't help but be happy to be back.
The star striker stood on the sidelines for about a minute as he waited to replace Manny Muscat, in which time the City fans gave him a rapturous applause.
And it was a moment that wasn't lost on the former captain.
"Seriously, I wanted to cry in this moment," Fornaroli said.
"Because it's not only the fans, I was thinking in my head I push a lot every day to come back and I wait a lot of time for this moment.
"So I was very happy.
"It's a very good feeling for me after six months to play again.
"I want to say 'thank you' to the medical staff, my teammates, the coaches and all the club for supporting me.
"Also the fans, it was amazing to come back at AAMI Park because I can feel the fans close to me and I can feel them pushing me."
While Fornaroli was initially pegged for a late January comeback, his eventual return still caught many by surprise.
The 30-year-old played in a friendly on Tuesday and recovered well, paving the way to make a bench appearance.
"I feel good, but at the same time it's not at the normal level," he said.
"Sometimes I might turn not so quickly or my mind might think something but my leg doesn't respond, it takes an extra second.
"So I want to catch this up. I want to feel 110 per cent."
Meanwhile, City coach Warren Joyce has defended the signing of Oliver Bozanic, which was announced on Saturday.
And with Osama Malik a potential absentee from City's next game - away to Perth on February 24 - Joyce said his side's midfield stocks may not be as full as it seems.
"You're in a situation where the transfer window is shut and we're just looking for the best possible players available that can help us if we pick up any injuries," Joyce said.
"We wanted to add to the squad and add some quality and experience to the group."