Fahrudin Pjanic was certain that the war was coming to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and as a footballer of football club “Drina-Zvornik” in the former Yugoslavia, while traveling around the country, he perceived the tensions. Fahrudin saw in the matches that the tension grew, hateful, threats became more dangerous than usual tapping. As a father of newly born Miralem, he decided that they should leave BiH, Miralem Pjanic starts his life story in an exclusive interview with Sarajevo Times.
He continues his story by recalling the time back in 1990s when his father Fahrudin needed a paperwork from Zvornik in order to exit the country, and he came back home twice, empty-handed.
His wife Fatima decided to try herself, carrying baby Miralem in her arms.
“My mother asked the secretary who was working there to give us the documents that we needed to exit the country, and he did not want, after which she started to cry,” Miralem recalls.
Suddenly, a baby in Fatima’s arms felt her mother’s distress and began to cry loudly. Fatima and the secretary were silent, the baby was crying. The secretary took the documents out of the closet and offered Fatima, saying he did it only because of the crying baby, Miralem says.
They left the country with only two bags, and travelled to Luxembourg where they did not know the language or had any acquaintances.
“My parents had built everything by their own, and this is something I am proud of the most,” Pjanic says with smile on his face.
Pjanic adds that, if he was not one of famous players, they would definitely, as a family, live in a decent manner, with enough money, because his parents are the best example of how parents should be.
Miralem Pjanic was following his father while he was going to training sessions, and when he was five years old, he was always on the field.
“The real father is an example for his children, for my father, it was of the vast importance how his family lives,” Pjanic says, adding that at the time when his father was playing in Luxembourg, family was on the first place and football on the second.
He was thinking about the everyday problems, how to survive, how to buy everything needed for the house, how to get enough money for children, school etc.
When he was a small boy, he was always following Zinedine Zidane when he was playing for Real Madrid, taking him as a role model.
“At that time, playing football was just a dream for me, and by the time, I had more and more wish to be among the best ones, to advance in my career and to prosper,” Pjanic said, adding that nowadays he is among the best players in the world, and in one of the best clubs ever, in Juventus.
“This is one of the biggest satisfaction for me, but I do not want to stop here, I want to accomplish more, and to be better,” Pjanic adds.
A baby who was crying in the premises of FC Drina-Zvornik, while his mother asked for her husband’s stamp from the secretary, was now a young man who is one of the best players in the world, worth 74 million euros.
The reality is that Pjanic has achieved everything by himself since he did not have anyone to help him at the time he was at the beginning of his career.
Speaking about how people react when he says he is Bosnian, Pjanic says that people generally connect the country with the war, and look things from that perspective, asking how the situation in the country is.
“If one wants something in his life and if a lot of work was invested, I think that great aims can be achieved, no matter from where the person is. It all depends from a person, individually, what he or she wants, and how much work one is ready to invest in realization,” Pjanic says.
“I have always looked at other players, thinking that there is no reason for one footballer to be better than me, I decided to work more, in order to be among the best,” he adds.
Nicknames such as “Little Prince”, Pianista, Maestro were given to Pjanic in order to describe the way he plays.
“I like the nicknames, this shows that I play well, that I advance well, this is something of a vast importance to me, something that make me satisfied,” he says.
Speaking about his dreams, this 29 years-old footballer reveals that it is definitely to win “scudetto” with his club Juventus and to win Champions League.
“With Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national team, I would like to go to European Championship, this is one of the major aims for me.”
Miralem Pjanic is one of the rare footballers whose name cannot be found in tabloids and who is not part of scandals, for himself, he says he is not interested in those kind of marketing and promotion.
“I do not want to be in the center of attention, this sometimes can be detrimental. I want to have a normal life, to live with my family, with my son, I want to be a role model to my son, he is my responsibility, and I want to show him the “right path”,” Pjanic says, adding that this is most important for him right now.
His life is very simple, he focuses on football, puts a lot of effort and time in it, but tries, as much as possible, to spend time with family and son.
For the end of conversation, Pjanic gives advice to young children to listen to their parents, professors and trainers, who really want to help.
“Respect for everyone is so much important. Faith in yourself is also of a vast importance, no one should put limits in his or hers head, “ and all this accompanied with hard work and lots of waivers are “receipe” for success.
Interview by Zejna Yesilyurt