Gabigol

Junior Member
Jul 6, 2018
316
From the Guardian:

Miralem Pjanic: ’We were in danger. Football wasn’t the most important thing’

Fahrudin Pjanic knew war was coming. As a footballer for FK Drina Zvornik in the Yugoslavian third division, he travelled around the country enough to see the social and political tensions that were building in the early 1990s. As the father of a newborn son, Miralem, his instinct was to get his family out before the worst happened. Friends in Luxembourg put him in touch with a semi-professional club, Schifflange, who offered him a part-time contract and help finding a job to pay the bills. To take up that opportunity, however, Fahrudin would need Zvornik to release him and provide the paperwork required to travel.

Twice he went to speak with the club secretary and twice he came away empty-handed. Desperate, his wife Fatima went to try for herself, carrying their baby in her arms.
Miralem Pjanic was too young to know what was going on, but the story has become family lore. “My mother wanted us to leave, absolutely, but still the club said no,” he recalls. “Then I started to cry. It upset the secretary so much that finally they said, ‘OK, I’ll do it just for this little kid’.”
That kid is now 28 years old and a key component of a Juventus side preparing for Tuesday’s Champions League visit to Old Trafford. Those unknowing tears changed his life forever, freeing his parents to take him to Luxembourg, where he grew up in safety while hundreds of his fellow Bosniaks were being killed in Zvornik, and thousands more driven from their homes.
Sitting across the table in a meeting room at Juventus’s new team headquarters in the Continassa neighbourhood of Turin, Pjanic’s eyes widen as he contemplates what his parents went through. “They were still very young, 20, 22 years old, and they went to this new country where they didn’t speak the language with nothing: two or three suitcases.

“They started from zero and managed to make a lovely family, still all together after 27 years together living there. It’s a beautiful thing. Today they live really well in Luxembourg, I have a sister and a brother who are growing up really well. My parents are an example to me, what they managed to achieve without anything to begin.”

Fahrudin worked days and Fatima nights, so one would always be free to look after their son. For Miralem, that meant going along to Schifflange’s training sessions every evening. He beams as he talks about helping dad fill his kit bag – a task that might well be imagined by some children as a chore, but which in his telling sounds like the greatest privilege in the world.

“My dad was a midfielder, like I am, and he was good too,” he says. “When I saw him playing as I got older, I could see he really knew how to play. He didn’t have all the chances to grow and have a great career that I got but he did what he could. His objective after that was above all to leave a country where his family were in danger. Football was no longer the most important thing.”

Pjanic has made good on his own potential, progressing from Schifflange’s youth team to Metz, Lyon, Roma and now Juventus. In Italy, he is nicknamed Il Pianista – the Pianist – though his presence on the pitch is more like that of a conductor, arranging play from the middle of the park to help the soloists around him achieve brilliance.
“I’m not someone who can do 10 stepovers or backheels – I’m not very interested in that. I’m more fascinated by the simplicity of play, because the thing that makes this sport so beautiful. The simplest things are often the hardest. Not everyone can do them.
“I had the good fortune to see players like [Zinedine] Zidane, Xavi, [Andrés] Iniesta, [Andrea] Pirlo up close. They all make things simple for their team. They make their whole team play well with little things that don’t always get noticed. They reflect on what’s happening and take action to make life easier for guys around them.”

The mention of stepovers calls to mind Cristiano Ronaldo, newly arrived at Juventus this summer. “But if you look at Ronaldo when he was in Manchester and then at the Ronaldo who became the best player in the world, you can see his game has changed. His game became more concrete.
“I’ve read a lot of things [Ronaldo] has said about Paul Scholes and how he trained. Everyone talked about Scholes as being extraordinary, but not because he was out there doing dummies. By keeping things simple, he made himself special. I think Ronaldo learned from players like that.”

Pjanic has had some extraordinary teammates of his own to study. Perhaps most influential was Juninho Pernambucano, considered by many to be the greatest free-kick taker of all time. Pjanic played with him for one year at Lyon, as a teenager, inherited his No 8 shirt and even now they remain in regular contact.
“Honestly, the difference between Juninho and other players is not that he could hit the maledetta, but that when Juninho did it, the ball usually went in. That’s why Juninho was the No1 at free-kicks, because he was concrete. His free-kicks always finished up as a goal or an assist.”

Pjanic has 15 Serie A goals from direct free-kicks since he joined Roma in 2011. His opportunities have been limited, however, since Ronaldo joined him in Turin. The informal rule is apparently that “whoever is feeling it takes the ball”, but the Portuguese seems to be in the mood an awful lot so far.

If Pjanic is unhappy with this arrangement, he does a good job of hiding it. He is enjoying his football, and enjoying success. He had never raised a major trophy before joining Juventus in 2016, but has won consecutive domestic doubles in Turin.
“I like to watch teams who play well, ball on the floor, ball to feet, playing well as a collective,” he says. “Napoli, in recent years, have played beautiful football. But a title, a cup, celebrating with your team, making the fans happy, that’s the reward for all the hard work you put in. Something you get to keep.

“When you play well and you don’t win, in the end, you get tired. You’ve lost something. You’ve lost time.”
The Champions League is the one trophy that has eluded Juventus in this era, with two finals lost in the past four years. Pjanic was part of the team that lost 4-1 to Real Madrid in Cardiff in 2017. Ronaldo scored twice that day, and his arrival in Turin has bred optimism that the Bianconeri might get over the hump at last.

“The Champions League has always been important for Juventus,” says Pjanic. “It is an objective for us to reach the end, to win the whole thing. We have a lot of quality and we believe in this group. One step at a time, though. Our objective right now is to finish first in the group.”

https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...a-juventus-manchester-united-champions-league
 

Hustini

Optimist Prime
May 29, 2005
79,257
Pjanic: My approach to football... | Football Italia
Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic believes his mantra of ‘keeping things simple’ is behind his rise to football’s elite.
Pjanic was considered a direct replacement for Andrea Pirlo when he joined Juve from Roma in the summer of 2016, and the Bosnian explained his approach to keeping the Bianconeri’s midfield ticking over.
“I’m not someone who can do 10 stepovers or backheels – I’m not very interested in that,” he told The Guardian.
“I’m more fascinated by the simplicity of play, because the thing that makes this sport so beautiful. The simplest things are often the hardest. Not everyone can do them.
“I had the good fortune to see players like [Zinedine] Zidane, Xavi, [Andrés] Iniesta, [Andrea] Pirlo up close.
“They all make things simple for their team. They make their whole team play well with little things that don’t always get noticed.
“They reflect on what’s happening and take action to make life easier for guys around them.
“But if you look at Ronaldo when he was in Manchester and then at the Ronaldo who became the best player in the world, you can see his game has changed. His game became more concrete.
“I’ve read a lot of things [Ronaldo] has said about Paul Scholes and how he trained. Everyone talked about Scholes as being extraordinary, but not because he was out there doing dummies.
“By keeping things simple, he made himself special. I think Ronaldo learned from players like that.
“I like to watch teams who play well, ball on the floor, ball to feet, playing well as a collective.
“Napoli, in recent years, have played beautiful football. But a title, a cup, celebrating with your team, making the fans happy, that’s the reward for all the hard work you put in. Something you get to keep.
“When you play well and you don’t win, in the end, you get tired. You’ve lost something. You’ve lost time.
“The Champions League has always been important for Juventus. It is an objective for us to reach the end, to win the whole thing.
“We have a lot of quality and we believe in this group. One step at a time, though. Our objective right now is to finish first in the group.”
 

Nedved96

Senior Member
Sep 1, 2017
2,137
His passing and vision is supreme, the way he just glimpses over his shoulder briefly and then hits a perfect 50 meter pass. His first time pass towards Cancelo (after receiving the ball from Szczesny) which opened up a counterattack was ridiculous. He's not as good as Pirlo but not far off either.

Defensively he's become a lot tougher recently. He was making tackles and won the ball back several times today.

Overall, a great performance from a great player.
 

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