Ilcho Naumoski conducted an interview with Austrian newspaper 90minuten.at where he addressed a broader range of issues, including the reasons he has stayed at Mattersburg all this time and whether his negative portrayal in the media bothers him.
Ilcho, who turns 29 years old next month, has been with Mattersburg since 2005. Naumoski has long been considered a hot headed but talented player in Austria. He was asked why he hasn’t transferred to a larger team than Mattersburg which led Naumoski to say, “When I played for GAK earlier in my career, half of Europe wanted me. I sat down with Fabio Capello because Roma demonstrated interest, but then I suffered an injury and was out of action for a year. I have had other offers to leave but that won’t happen at all cost because I will never forget what Mattersburg has done for me. I have a lot of respect for the club President Martin Pucher. One of the offers came from a good Scottish club but in the end, the transfer fell through because the terms that were negotiated proved false. I was first told they viewed me as a starter, but then they only wanted me as a squad addition for depth. Later, Grenoble offered me a 3 year deal at an airport. I first wanted to contact Pucher since Mattersburg was in a relegation battle. They said take it or leave it, I decided not to sign.”
Naumoski was asked whether money would entice him to leave, “From some leagues, such as Japan, I get three calls a week. I could earn a lot more money there. But here I am captain and serve an important role, and like the direction of the team with some of the talented youngsters.”
Ilcho admitted that his mentality has sometimes stood in the way of success. As an example, he used teammate Stefan Ilsanker who he said always gives 100% effort and possesses great will. If Naumoski had 30% of that mentality, he would have done more in his career, acknowledging that he has lacked concentration and seriousness in earlier parts of his career. For instance, in the 2002/03 season, during a Champions League qualifier for GAK against Sheriff, Naumoski listened to a walkman and forgot to change the clock in a different time zone. He was alone in his room, sleeping, and when he went to attend training, the rest of the players were returning. The coach told him that was not professional and ordered him to the stands as punishment.
Finally, he was also asked whether his negative reputation in the media bothers him. Naumoski noted, “It is 50% my fault. However, I have not been given a fair chance by certain referees when I try to be good. Some referees tell me before a game ‘say a bad word and you’re off.’ I then ask the referee whether he says such a thing to Hofmann (a well known player in Austria). Today, I am satisfied with the majority of referees, but there are still some who take pleasure in giving Naumoski a red card, which the media then uses to have a field day on the topic.”