I’m back home

Friday, June 21, 2019



The former Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna ended his player career and joined Shakhtar’s new coaching staff

Immediately after the presentation of Luis Castro as Shakhtar manager, they held a press conference of Darijo and the club CEO Sergei Palkin.

- Our club is happy that the legend Darijo Srna is back home, at Shakhtar, - Sergei Palkin pointed out. - Darijo joined the coaching staff, but his remit will also include assistance to the entire club system. By and large, FC Shakhtar is a mini-corporation, with lots of lines. Darijo will be the main ambassador of our club at various levels, including UEFA, the Champions League draw, and much more. We are sure that with the arrival of Darijo our club will step very high and with him we will achieve serious goals. You know perfectly well that he is a very hard-working person, ambitious, professional, and one of his main qualities is that he is very charismatic. I am sure that he will achieve great heights. It’s still questionable wiether he will work in the management or as a coach. But I hope that all the heights he is going to reach will be at Shakhtar. I am pleased to once again welcome Darijo!

After that, Darijo Srna made an opening speech:

- Hello to everyone! I’m glad to see you. Much time has passed since my previous press conference, and today's one will probably be the last one of me as a football player. It was a long career ... I want to begin with big gratitude to my family, father, mother, brother, wife, and children. Without them, I wouldn’t have had such a career. I am proud of my career and of everything I have done. I will not thank the coaches separately just because I will surely forget someone, and this will be wrong. Thanks to all the clubs I used to play for: GOSK Gabela, Neretva Metkovic, Hajduk Split. Shakhtar - my biggest football love. Cagliari ... I’m glad to be back home, as the CEO just said. I am sure that together with the club, the CEO, the president, the coaching staff, and the fans, we will accomplish the objective we are facing.

- After you, no one has played consistently in your role at right back in Shakhtar. Did you follow the play of Butko and Bolbat? Have you got anything to prompt them?
- I watched them as a football player, and now I will look at them differently. Shakhtar had a great coach Paulo Fonseca, now Luis Castro has come. I will help him and the coaching staff to pick the best option for the team.

- How long ago did you receive the offer to return to Shakhtar? Had it been otherwise, would you have ended your career in the same way? Did Cagliari offer you a new deal?
- They offered, but I don’t know ... There was some kind of power, I felt that I would not sign that deal. I put it off continuously. When the CEO called me and made an offer, I said that I would be more happy to work at Shakhtar than to play at Cagliari. Here I feel at home. I see the people I haven’t seen for a year - everyone is happy, and I am happy! When I spoke with the president, I am sure he felt my ambitions, he felt how happy I was to return to Shakhtar.

- When should we expect Darijo Srna to become the manager of Shakhtar? Have you got that kind of an ambitious goal or will you base it on your feelings from year to year?
- First, my ambitions are those of Shakhtar. The CEO has already said that time will tell where I feel better. Now I am with the team every day. I am helping the new coaching staff to adapt here to the Ukrainian league, and to do it as soon as possible. So, I want to repeat, my ambitions are Shakhtar's ambitions. No one can be above the club. Time will tell how I will prove myself in this job.

- Sergei Palkin mentioned the broad functionality. What do you like more? You seemed to say once that the coaching profession was too nervous.
- Right. I even have a duty on my contract, according to which I will sometimes be a reporter, asking questions. Just kidding! I don’t know, I've been for just two days here. The most important thing now is to help our manager prepare the team well for the Super Cup and the Ukrainian league.

- What would you bring to the Ukrainian league from the Italian league?
- I’ve already brought VAR! But seriously speaking ... Serie A is maturing, and you can learn a lot. Unfortunately, there is such a situation in our country these days that the level of the league is gradually changing. Had you asked me seven years ago what I would bring, I would not bring anything, because the league was very strong. Of course, over time there will be new teams who will progress and raise the bar.

- Do you have a feeling that you have not played enough?
- I played enough, honestly. I watched our footballers running just recently, how hot it was, and I just stood aside and watched them. Enough! I am proud of my career and would not change anything in it. I’ve said many thanks to everyone, I want to thank even my rivals - they made me and our team work harder, run more, and improve our performance. Of course, it’s hard. But I think it will be easier because I returned home and stay in football, which is my life and my love. Let’s move on.
- Paulo Fonseca’s coaching staff included Igor Duljaj, who ensured communication between the players and the coach, who argued with the refs a lot and so on. Will your duties include that?
- I only fear to immediately earn a red card after 15 minutes in the Super Cup tie! No, a new book is opening in my life now. I am no longer a footballer and should behave differently. I will try my best. Of course, anything happens, but it will be purely my emotions. I will always advocate my team and my club.
- You said that in the recent year, the derbies were not very interesting. Will they get more interesting after your return?
- I already gave an interview about six months ago, and football pundits, I think, understood me when I said that I wanted to watch a derby with a red card shown. And I did not mean fighting. After that, a good derby came out right away! There were two red ones, and Shakhtar won it. Those are passions, sometimes they are missing on the pitch between Shakhtar and Dynamo. And the fans get bored and we are bored. If it’s 0-0 without any red cards, in general you could stay at home then. Derby should always bring some great emotions, and this immediately improves the quality of football.
- Did you follow Dynamo last season? They are your favourite rivals.
- Of course, I watched all of Shakhtar’s games against Dynamo. They are a young team that is growing. There are some very good football players there. I can see that we can handle them, as always.
- What do they know about Shakhtar in Italy?
- A lot. They fear and respect Shakhtar. They always asked me: who is your main scout? I answered that we have many scouts, and the last decision is made by the president. They know that young and talented players are growing up, who after a while will play at big clubs. It is important for Shakhtar to prove themselves in the Champions League, to win the league title, the Cup, and the Super Cup. Then there will be no problems for the young footballers to progress with the team.
Also, the FC Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin answered a few questions.
- When should we expect a benefit match involving Darijo Srna, which he certainly deserves?
- Just today we discussed this issue, so it is in the development stage. When our ideas take on a certain shape, we will let you know.
- Perhaps it would be more logical for Darijo to end his career at Shakhtar two years ago and to become a coach instead of leaving to play for Cagliari?
- In football there is nothing logical at all. Everything goes its own way. While the football player wants to play, he plays. When he feels that he can’t any longer, it’s better to stop. Again, we are really pleased that Darijo has returned to us. I am one hundred percent sure that his arrival will change a lot, and not only on the field but in the very structure of the club. I can assure you that there are very few people with his knowledge, his circle of acquaintances, his vision of many things. If we compare in what field Darijo will help better, as a footballer or an officer, I would be inclined to the second. It seems to me that he has matured now in order to make a completely different quality step. And I am sure that he will succeed. We do not know in what capacity Darijo will work later - as an officer or as a coach. It will depend on him. But I am sure that in those fields he will get a hundred percent success.