Mario Gjurovski, an attacking midfielder who plays for Muangthong United, is the latest player to be featured in our interview series.
The 28-year-old Mario Gjurovski comes from a footballing family. His father, Milko Gjurovski, and his uncle, Boshko Gjurovski, both had successful playing careers before entering the coaching ranks. Thus, it was no surprise that Mario also decided to pursue a career in football.
Since he was born in Serbia, Mario began his early career there with several different teams. He was then able to secure a transfer to one of the top Serbian clubs, Vojvodina, in 2007. Mario remained with Vojvodina until the end of 2010 when he decided to move abroad to Metalurh Donetsk. However, after just 7 league appearance during his one year stay in Ukraine, Mario decided to make an unusual transfer to Thailand. He signed with Muangthong United where he has experienced much success over the past two seasons.
Gjurovski made his debut for Macedonia in May of 2010 during a friendly against Azerbaijan. In that game, he also happened to score his first goal. Beyond that, Mario has made 11 additional appearances and scored another goal, bringing his tally with Macedonia to 12 caps and 2 goals. However, in the past qualifications for the 2014 World Cup, Gjurovski was never called up to the national team.
Now, his uncle Boshko Gjurovski was chosen as the new manager of the national team. Could that mean that Mario will return to once again play for Macedonia? Is he considering returning to Europe? Those were some of the topics in our interview with Gjurovski.
Here is the complete question and answer session with Mario Gjurovski:
MF: You have played in the championships of Serbia, Ukraine and Thailand. How would you compare the quality and conditions in these three leagues?
MG: Serbia – A few years ago the Serbian league had better quality. Today, most of the players are young. It has enough quality tactically with fewer goals. It is hard to play which is a reason why players look to leave Serbian football early. From 1 to 10, I would give it a 6.
Ukraine – In Ukraine I only spent one year. It is a league that has 5 quality teams and ranks 8th best in the word according to a list by FIFA. A lot is invested in football but I can freely say that the quality is not all that. Shakhtar Donetsk, Dynamo Kyiv and Metalist make the difference as the rest of the teams are similar in quality. From 1 to 10, I would give it a 7.5.
Thailand – This will be my third season in Thailand. I definitely found myself here. Although some think that it’s easy to play in Thailand, that is not the case. The most important thing is how long it takes for a player to adapt to drastically different conditions than in Europe. Everything is different. The play is very much attacking minded, tailored for goals, which is great since it gives fans more incentive to come to the stadium. There are three main teams that battle for the title in Muangthong United, Buriram and Chonburi. From 1 to 10, I would give it a clear 10 because of the atmosphere.
MF: How long do you expect to remain at Muangthong United? Is there still a chance that you could make a transfer in the winter transfer window?
MG: I have a contract for two more years. I have to be realistic in saying that my only option for transfers is within Asia. There was talks about Heerenveen and Levski, but that was not realistic.
MF: When given a chance before, you were productive for Macedonia. Why don’t you think you were given a chance in the previous qualifications for the World Cup in Brazil?
MG: First of all, I have to say that the best period of my career was when I wore the dress of Macedonia. It was a great honor and satisfaction. That is something you dream of when you are young, to play for the national team. I have realized that dream and believe that I have more to show for the Macedonian national team.
MF: Boshko Gjurovski is now the manager of Macedonia. What can you tell us about him? Do you expect attacking minded football?
MG: I can only say that he is a great coach and great professional. He will surely bring something new to the national team. This is the highlight of his career. Definitely there will be attacking minded football.
MF: Goran Pandev decided to retire from the national team. Do you feel that you can help out in covering for his absence at the attacking midfield position?
MG: Pandev is an icon in Macedonian football. That is a big loss for the national team in every sense. It will be hard to replace Goran. He was a leader. I still hold out hope that he may rethink his decision and return to play in one more qualification. We still have good players who can bring quality. As for me, I wouldn’t want to talk much. If I get a chance to be on the national team again, I will try to help. I believe in myself.