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By ESPN Staff

Nick Ansell returning to Melbourne Victory 'a better player'

They say you should never go back but Melbourne Victory defender Nick Ansell is hoping for happy returns at his former A-League home.

The centre-back has joined the Victory on a two-year deal after his stint with Portuguese club Tondela was cut short.

Ansell chose to come home a year into his contract after a confluence of events necessitated his return.

The 24-year-old has lost count of how many times he's been asked why he chose to come back.

"Yeah there's a stigma but it doesn't bother me," he said. "Everyone can talk. It's not something I worry about. I just tell the truth."

Ansell threw himself into life in Portugal, forcing his way into the first team despite the language barrier.

He turned out at a full house at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, the home of Cristiano Ronaldo's youth club Sporting.

But life changed for Ansell when the team's best defender won a move to Porto, forcing a defensive reshuffle and a new arrival that came with a must-play clause.

An unfortunately-timed knee injury shut Ansell's season down, leading to his return to Melbourne for treatment.

"Then the Victory came in with an offer," he said. "With my knee, I felt it was the best offer and it's great to be back.

"I feel like I'm definitely a different player from my year away, having my new experiences.

"And I feel I'm a better player."

Given it's defences that tend to win championships, how Ansell settles in could be crucial to Victory's fortunes.

He should line up with Georg Niedermeier in a revamped defence, which includes off-season additions Storm Roux and Corey Brown as full-backs.

Ansell, fully fit again, said he was eager to throw himself into the domestic campaign while keeping one eye on a return to European football.

"It's a great lifestyle here in Australia. But if you really want a big career you have to go and take a chances overseas. I tried to," he said.

"You get used to playing against great players, training with them, and it makes you better.

"Now, I'm focusing on looking after my body, staying on the pitch, getting wins for the team and let's see where things go."

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