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INTERVIEW: Dinamo Zagreb’s Ghana International

Ghana international Lee Addy (22) recently moved to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb on loan from China-based Dalian Aerbin till the end of the season, and according to reports he may secure a permanent deal once his contract is up in June.

Although training in the snow maybe foreign for him, the jovial defender has settled in well at his new club. He recently gave a candid interview on the club’s official website.

For starters, tell the fans when you first started playing football?

I started when I was 6 in my street. As was normally the case, I was the youngest so at the start I was the goalkeeper and I even liked it, but quickly I moved more forward, to defence.

Describe how life is in Ghana.

It is a lot different that what I have seen in Europe. It is very difficult for young people who want to be footballers or get an education. Simply there are a lot of challenges facing ambitious people and they must work hard and focus on their goals which they set themselves.

What is your favourite club in the world?

Barcelona, ever since I was kid I supported them.

Favourite player in the world?

Lionel Messi.

The best defender in the world?

Carles Puyol I like because of his style of play, he has the heart of a captain. Maybe he is not the best, but I like him a lot.

How did you arrive in Europe, at Red Star Belgrade from Ghana?

I was a first team regular for my club and made the national team. I soon was a regular member of the national team and then we went to the African Nations Cup in Angola. There we made the final where we lost to Egypt and I played all but one match against Ivory Coast. Scouts were watching from Red Star and they bought me to Belgrade where I was for a year and a half.

What are the differences between European and African football?

In Africa players are technical, powerful and fast, but in Europe everything around the player is better, from the grounds, the changing rooms, to the who organisation around football which helps the player. Simply as a package football is a better product in Europe, and therefore the matches on a whole look more quality. A lot of European coaches have now come to Africa, educating us, and in Africa very good football is also played.

After Red Star Belgrade you went to China. What is football like there compared to Europe and Ghana?

In Ghana we have a lot of football academy’s which have very good conditions, led by some great players who have come back to their roots in Ghana. For example, Marcel Desailly is one of them and his academy is well-respected and helps young players a lot. There players have a chance to get schooling, learn a foreign language and develop as a player and a person.

Passing, tackling and running – that is the language of football worldwide. Of course, it varies from country to country, but mostly it comes down to the same thing. In China it is different because of their culture, access to sport in general, but also the time difference, which really bothered me because I could not talk with the family and, when I am awake they slept, and vice versa. As for the Chinese and their league, it is really progressing, they are investing a lot of money and I think it will only get better and better. It is only a question of time when you will that in the results of the national team.

Are you religious?

With regards to beliefs, I am part Christian, and part Muslim. I respect all faiths and value everyone.

What were your first thoughts when you heard Dinamo were after you?

I was very happy to be back in Europe, which is not easy when one goes to China. I had heard of Dinamo a lot when I was playing at Red Star Belgrade. It is a big club which has a good team. They are ambitious and I’m happy to be here.

Do you know anything about Croatia and Zagreb?

I played in Serbia so I know about the former country, Yugoslavia and the war, but not too much. With regards to Zagreb, for now I have only be travelling from the hotel to the stadium and only a few times, but from what I have seen it looks like a very clean and nice city. Everyone tells me it is safe which I am very happy about.

Do you know any Croatian players?

I know Robert Prosinecki, who was my coach and who is an excellent coach and a player.I also know Davor Suker, I remember his goals in France and in general his celebrations, somehow I remembered. When I think more about it, he really did score a lot of goals.

How you going with the Croatian language?

I know a little. I understand more than I talk, but I am getting better. I now understand quiet a lot, and can speak some basics. It is a hard language, but I am learning.

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