Lubos Michel: I don’t burn my bridges

The Slovak expert granted his last interview as the FC Shakhtar International Competitions Department Director. Let us remind you that Lubos Michel accepted the offer of PAOK FC, where he will join the club board of directors.

- Lubos, you dedicated seven years of your career to Shakhtar. What will be your memory of this period?
- After completing my refereeing career, those were my first years of work as a football officer. Today I spoke with the president. He had opened the door for me to a new life and the new profession. I thanked him for that. Shakhtar will always remain in my heart. Here I have many friends who have become really close for me. And, of course, I will have only the best memories. Shakhtar is a top club. Now I'm moving to undertake a new job, and my goal at PAOK is building a club, where the system and infrastructure will operate just as well. Shakhtar is a vivid example of how you can turn a professional club into a top European one.

- What moments during your spell at Shakhtar would you highlight as the most emotional and outstanding?
- That’s winning the UEFA Cup, as well as five consecutive league titles, claiming Cups and Super Cups... The top spot, of course, belongs to our European club competition triumph. For all the club employees, the fans, the people who wholeheartedly support the team, that’s the most outstanding, even heroic event. I remember how everyone was waiting for the final whistle in Istanbul, I remember the joy of all the players, the coaches and the club president. Rinat Akhmetov has put in Shakhtar his heart and soul, he deserved this victory. This man has achieved what he dreamed about for many years.

- Will you keep in touch with your former colleagues at Shakhtar?
- I do not burn my bridges. Here remain the people who have become my family. Shakhtar has opened the way to a new activity for me. I will never forget it, feeling that I still owe a lot to the club. Therefore, I am always ready to help each employee at any time of day or night.

- What would you like to wish Shakhtar and its fans?
- The recent two years have been a major challenge for the entire football family of Shakhtar. I wish the team to return to Donetsk as soon as possible. Believe me, no stadium in the world has an atmosphere similar to that at the Donbass Arena! It has its own spirit, its power. I prefer to believe that Shakhtar will return home and delight their true fans again, those for whom the team was created. Supporters form an integral part of football, for which the players give their all on the field, for which the staff do their job. I want to say this to the Pitmen’s fans: Always be with the team! Shakhtar plays for you, it was created for you.