Pandev speaks out
Pandev breaks the silence
4 Mar '05
Thirteen minutes in the last 3 matches. Not much for a talented young player with great qualities who always made his mark when called to play. Three goals in the league, of which one is hard to ever forget, one in the UEFA Cup. Goran Pandev looks sad and feels low at the moment; after a long period of silence he has decided to talk and express how he feels:
«I played one minute against Atalanta, nine in Verona and three against Parma. No, I'm really not able to smile anymore because this situation is making me sad».
During the last 10 matches with Papadopulo at the helm, the player featured 193 minutes, an average of around 20 minutes per match day. «The premisses were different, but I always find myself on the bench, in the last matches I just came in to play in the very end». '
From Pandev's words it's clear that the relation with the coach isn't optimal: «Papadopulo doesn't see me, that is clear to me. During training he says I am doing well and he recognizes that I work hard all the time but then he always leaves me on the bench... What can I prove when I play only 5 minutes? I still try to do my best but I don't have much time at my disposal».
He only started against Milan. «A match where the team needed to concentrate on closing space rather than attack, and with the best defense of the league in front of us. It wasn't easy. When I came in at the break in Florence, I too provided something positive. It's true that the coach can only field eleven players but sometimes I expect it to be my turn as well. I'm not asking to be a regular starter, just more consideration because I think I deserve that».
In January Lazio refused important offers from Fiorentina, Southampton and Tottenham to keep the player. «They assured me there would be more space for me, more or less that I would play more so I gladly stayed at Lazio. But the promises have not been respected and I've played very little».
The player's mood is deteriorating even if he's only shown it once, on the way back to the locker room after training. «Out of respect for my teammates, the club and the fans that I care about, I have chosen not to make a big thing over this, hoping the situation would improve».
Now this creates problems for the extension of his contract that runs out in 2006. «I want to speak with president Lotito and director Martino soon. Unless they give me guarantees for the future I prefer to leave, because at 21 years I have the right to find a club that gives me a chance to play and grow as a player. I think I can offer this Lazio something, a Lazio that is no longer full with great champions, but obviously I'm wrong. I want to have a say about my own future as well. I care about the fans, the team, but the club needs to tell me what they want from me».
With Bazzani missing, Pandev could get his chance against Messina. «I certainly hope so and I continue to train giving my best, waiting for my turn to arrive».
The player dreams of another goal as the one against Juventus. «A nice move that I remember well and that I try sometimes during training as well. I often succeed with it. Sooner or later I will try to score that way again».
He returns to play with his national team March 26. «We have an important match against Romania, and I'll go there with enthusiasm because I get a chance to play...»