Mario celebrating a goal in Thailand; photo:

Mario Gjurovski: If summoned, I’m coming for the national team

Mario celebrating a goal in Thailand; photo: tplclub.comThe Thai football calendar has changed and Mario Gjurovski won’t be held hostage by his club situation anymore when the national team comes calling.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder Mario Gjurovski was always considered as a great addition to the Macedonian national team. The son of Milko Gjurovski, the former Macedonian and Yugoslav star player, was born in Serbia but followed his roots and opted to play for Macedonia. Yet, since his debut in 2010, Mario appeared in only 12 games. He faced several injuries that prevented him from being a national team regular, but his transfer to the Thai club Muangthong United in the beginning of 2012 totally buried his national team career. The Thai side always cited FIFA’s rules about players playing on different continental FA’s and never let Mario to play for Macedonia. These days the Thai FA switched their football calendar making it equal to the one of FIFA. That means that when Macedonia will play, the Thai leagues will have a break so Mario and all other internationals in Thailand will be able to play for their countries. The national team coach is his uncle Boshko who already summoned him and it is expected that eventually Mario will have his first match under his uncle in 2015.

Mario conduced an interview for Serbian newspaper Kurir in which he said some interesting things about his career and also mentioned the national team. By clicking here you can read the original version that is in Serbian language, while if you stay on this page you can read our English translation.

Will you play for Macedonia again?
“Due to duties in Thailand I was prevented from playing for Macedonia although I was called up by Toshack, Janevski and Boshko. The national team is still first place for me. Now Thailand has introduced FIFA dates, so I believe that I will be able to play. Of course, if I get a call.”

How did you went to Thailand?
“This story is very weird. From Vojvodina I went to Metalurh (Donetsk, Ukraine, NT.) where I failed. There was a lad who wasn’t even an agent and he kept convincing me for a month. At first I didn’t even want to think about it, but then I changed my mind thanks to Robbie Fowler, Liverpool’s legend that at that moment was playing in Thailand.”

How is the feeling of being a big football star in Thailand?
“I had a marvelous beginning. It’s very hard to explain to the (Balkan, TN.) people how the situation is here. Therefore I’m not even trying to talk much. I’m not a God in Thailand, but someone will say that I have done the right thing if I stay here in the next five years.”

Did you won the fans by scoring from a corner kick, the Panenka penalty kick or by the strip celebration?
“The Thai fans love to watch players that have fun on the field. They have a different mentality and I give them what they deserve.”

How would you describe the Thai league?
“People in Serbia think that amateur players are playing in Thailand, but it’s not like that. Jay Bothroyd, Arsenal’s great talent, failed here, he played in only 16 games. Same happened to Jay Simpson. Jermaine Pennant came on trial. They weren’t satisfied with him although he played in a Champions League final with Liverpool.”

Are there any derbies?
“There is a big rivalry between three clubs. They are Chonburi and Buriram. With Buriram there is some kind of a political rivalry, they are champions for the past two years. For me, the bigger derby is the one against Chonburi. When we face them, 4.000 fans are standing outside the stadium.”

How is life in Thailand?
“Great, like in Serbia. (laughs, Ed.) You must see their temples, the biggest market Chatuchak, the luxury Sun road. The sea is wonderful. The most exotic destinations are Phuket, Koh Samui, Pataya… The famous Ping Pong show… but alright, that’s not for telling. (laughs, Ed.)”

What do you eat?
“From their dishes I only eat Phat Thai. It’s noodles with chicken or seafood. The hot (as in chilli hot, TN.) soups are impossible to eat. I tried scorpion, worms, ants… They put those things on barbecue therefore you don’t really taste what you eat. I haven’t tried a boiled fetus, I still haven’t gone that far.”

With who do you hang out the most?
“I’m not alone so that’s good. My wife is with me, plus there are players from this region as well. In my club there is Milan Bubalo who used to play for Hajduk from Kula. Then there’s Radomir Đalović who is at Bangkok United, I know him from Crvena Zvezda. Those are the lads I hang out with.”

What do you think about the Asian Champions League?
“It’s not bad, but it’s wrongly divided. The Arabs play on one side and the Australians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and we on the other. That’ the reason why it can never be like the European Champions League. Still, it’s great to play against the likes of Urawa, Guangzhou…”

How are the Thai people?
“It’s a nation for respect as everyone wants to work. They sell food, everything. No one is is resting, from children to old people. Unbelievable. When it comes to the living standard, there’s no middle class, only rich and poor.”

How are investments in the Thai football?
“They are good with the money. Only one club in the league isn’t owned by a private investor. The stadiums are always full, there are no athletic tracks, the capacities are around 20.000. There is also a national arena with 57.000 seats where it hosted and beat Manchester United 1:0. The TV coverage is done with 10 cameras, so they are great when it comes to technology and organization.”

Do you consider yourself a successful footballer?
“I’m happy in Thailand. I have a contract for another year. Europe isn’t realistic, I’m happy in Thailand where I have discovered myself. Here I’m respected and appreciated, something that I dreamed of since being a kid. But, you never know. When it comes to my career in Serbia, I did make mistakes. Anyway, I left that behind. I wanted more, a better career, but… I regret for Europe, most of all for Italy and the Netherlands.”

Do you hear from your father Milko?
“I have a great relationship with my father now. In the recent past his football advice was very useful for me, but now the least we talk about is football. I would want for him to go and try coaching at Groningen. I don’t know if he can handle coaching in Radnički, if he accepts the call from Niš.”

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