Bill relishing debutants Chiangrai United's #ACL2020 challenge
Chiang Rai: Chiangrai United striker Bill admitted he cannot wait to get started ahead of the Thai champions maiden AFC Champions League tie against Australia's Melbourne Victory on Tuesday.
It may have taken him until his 35th year, but veteran striker Bill had arguably the most successful season of his career in 2019 when he fired Chiangrai United past the usual heavyweights in Thailand to the club's first league championship.
Top scoring for the side with 14 goals, the Brazilian and his teammates edged defending champions Buriram United by virtue of a superior head-to-head record and with it earned a debut appearance in the AFC Champions League. The significance of which Bill is only too aware.
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“First of all, I am delighted to be part of the team’s history of playing in the AFC Champions League group stage for the first time," he said.
"This is the biggest tournament in Asia and there will be many tough opponents. It is one of the most important challenges.
"I believe that we will have an amazing experience."
A key part of the title-winning side that will not be present when the Beetles kick off their Continental campaign in Melbourne will be head coach Ailton Silva, with the Brazilian being replaced by Japanese tactician Masami Taki.
Bill admitted his countryman's departure did mean some adjustments at the beginning of the change in the dugout, but it is already water under the bridge.
"Although we changed from a Brazilian head coach to Japanese coach, it is not really a problem as I am ready to play under any coach," he declared.
"There might have been things that we had to adjust at the beginning, but everything is fine and goes smoothly now."
"We have been well prepared and are ready for the games to come."
As well as Melbourne Victory, Bill and his teammates will need to face off against former finalists FC Seoul of Korea Republic and China PR's Beijing FC in a tricky-looking Group E.
All three opponents are veterans of the AFC Champions League, having each participated in at least seven editions of the tournament previously, making it potentially a daunting task for the debutants.
Nevertheless, Bill believes their unknown quality could prove an advantage.
"We are a new face who wants to beat all of our opponents," he said. "And as a striker, I will do my best to score as many goals as possible!
"Of course, we want to advance to the next round but we will need to simply focus on one game at a time."
Photos: Chiangrai United
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