Roar emotions for departing star
DANISH enforcer Thomas Kristensen refuses to let a disappointing final season with the Roar cloud his love for Brisbane.
After three years with the Roar, the 36-year-old midfielder returned home to Denmark on Wednesday.
One of 14 players who won't be returning to Brisbane next season, Kristensen admitted he had mixed emotions about leaving.
A standout in his first two seasons with the Roar, the former FC Copenhagen star failed to set similar standards in Brisbane's disastrous 2018-19 campaign.
Believing he was "thrown under the bus" after the Roar's horrendous 4-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix on December 22, Kristensen never properly recovered, making just eight more A-League appearances.
"At least my last game was the (2-1) win against Wellington (on April 12) - that's nice to take home," Kristensen said.
"You don't like to finish with that type of season. You just have to say we weren't good enough … but I've been really happy with my time here.
"This last year here is not going to ruin my full perspective of my three years here, which has been really good both on and off the pitch."
Kristensen's biggest regret from his time in the A-League was not lifting some silverware the Roar.
"It was the closest in my first year here when we had a team capable of going the whole way, but that year it was the demands of the (AFC) Champions League that killed us a little bit," he said.
But that 2017 Champions League campaign also brought Kristensen one of his happiest Roar memories - a 2-0 away win over Chinese heavyweights Shanghai Shenhua, whose cashed-up side included Argentine star Carlos Tevez.
Kristensen was immense that night in one of the best wins in Roar history and a victory that earnt Brisbane a spot in the group stages of the competition.
"That was a big moment for the club … and it was definitely a significant result in the history of Australian clubs competing in the Champions League," he said.
"For us to go there as the complete underdogs and win, that was a big one."
Kristensen's favourite A-League moment during his time with the Roar was Brisbane's elimination final win over Western Sydney Wanderers in April 2017.
In front of 17,350 people at Suncorp Stadium, the Roar prevailed 6-5 in a penalty shootout after scores were locked at 1-1 at full-time and at the end of extra-time.
"That was a great game. It had everything and it was probably the closest I got to a packed Suncorp Stadium," Kristensen said.
"I know it wasn't full but it was close to 20,000, and it makes a big difference with that type of crowd. I would have loved to have played there in a grand final in a full stadium, but that was not to be."