Few footballers can say they have been present at the sacrificing of a goat at training. Shane Smeltz can.

The goat, the training and the sacrifice were in Turkey - a sign of just how far Smeltz strayed from his roots; the massive relocations and dislocations that affected him over the past 12 months.

In that time, the Smeltzs have moved from the Gold Coast to China to the Gold Coast to Turkey to the Gold Coast and now Perth.

One move lasted only five days, when the 29-year-old realised his reported $500,000-a-season shift to Shandong Luneng wasn't quite what he had imagined.

It was a year of incredible highs - his goal against Italy at the World Cup will be replayed for years and he recently signed for Perth Glory as a marquee player - as well as massive cultural challenges.

He's experienced a few different things in training - but never the sacrificing of a goat to help lift a perceived curse on the Turkish club which had suffered injuries and defeats.

He declined the offer to dip his fingers in the goat's blood and cross himself.

Smeltz comes across as someone who doesn't really like to be out of his comfort zone, making his moves to both China and Turkey surprising and his decision to quickly return to Australia less so. Players are tempted by the dollar and Smeltz admits it was important but sometimes reality and good judgement are clouded.

"I was naive," Smeltz says about his decision to sign with Shandong. "I was also ill-advised. I went over there not knowing as much as I should have. I relied on what people told me and what they were going to do and it just didn't come about. It ended up becoming messy.

"You have to learn who to trust and who to deal with in this game and sometimes you learn the hard way. I hold no regrets about how I left and I'm pleased I made that decision.

"I felt I just had to get out. It wasn't going to improve. In the brief time I was there, the club was very good. They went on to win the league. The facilities seemed decent, quite professional. But in terms of my accommodation and the level they were going to put me in, and I understand they are a third-world country, they didn't meet my needs and those of my [wife and two children]. It would have been extremely tough, if not impossible."

Turkey was almost as difficult. A month after his return from China, once the threat of a $1 million fine or two-year ban had passed, Smeltz signed with Turkish Sper Lig club Genlerbirligi SK.

The All Whites striker had been more thorough in his due diligence this time and couldn't shake the itch to play in Europe. He had been linked with a move to Turkey for some time and felt he needed to move then or not at all, even if it wasn't in a European league he hoped for.

Things began well. He went straight into the starting line-up and scored the winning goal in the all-important derby with Ankaragucu. But the club had changed dramatically by the time he returned from New Zealand after November's internationals against Paraguay and Honduras.

The coach was gone and the assistant coach and general manager soon followed.

Everyone who had brought him to the club, had believed in him, had been sacked.

Smeltz virtually felt he had been too - as his opportunities dried up after six games and he didn't fancy sitting out the remaining 18 months of his contract on the bench.

He had spent too much time playing at Struggle Stadium for the likes of AFC Wimbledon, Halifax and Mansfield Town to fester on the sidelines.

"I knew it would be a challenge when I signed," he says. "It's Turkey. I had never been there before. But I didn't expect what happened. I have never experienced anything like that.

"Everything changed, the whole mentality. People can say I should stick at it for the rest of the season but I didn't see it that way with my family.

"I know a couple of guys over there who are single or have girlfriends and even they found it tough.

"It's a tough place. I didn't fancy sitting out another 18 months on the sideline, so we came to a solution."

That solution once again included Gold Coast. They were the constant throughout all of Smeltz's dramas last year. They welcomed him back, again, and he repaid that faith with nine goals in 12 games to help them to fourth on the table.

Smeltz was still a man in demand. Wellington, Newcastle and Perth were after him and Gold Coast wanted to keep him. But Perth gave him 1.2 million reasons to make yet another move and in March, he signed a three-year deal as a marquee player with the ambitious club.

He is now above God. Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, whose nickname is God, re-signed for one more year on a reduced contract to accommodate Smeltz.

It's unlikely, however, team-mates will sacrifice a goat in his honour.

It's difficult to see Smeltz moving away from Perth and the A-League any time soon. He's tried something different but failed and he's clearly been a success in the Australian competition - he's twice been Golden Boot winner and in 2008-09 was adjudged to be the league's best player.

He now realises football is more important than the bank account, although that clearly is still building nicely.

"I think I'll stick with the A-League for a while," he says. "I'm 29 now. There's nothing holding me back from going to Europe if it was right but at this stage I have three years in the A-League with Perth and I'm really looking forward to that. It's nice to know I will be settled there.

"It's been tough on [his wife] and the kids with all the moving. There were a few stressful times. She's just as happy as I am and the kids that we will be in Perth for three years.

"I look back on the last 12 months with good memories. I went to a World Cup, played every minute of every game, scored a goal, and the team did well. That was fantastic."