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Interview with Ana Maria Marković – Croatian diaspora football talent

Meet Ana Maria Marković - Croatian diaspora football talent

Ana Maria Marković in action yesterday for Croatia against Romania in the World Cup qualifier in Velika Gorica (Photo credit: Igor Soban/PIXSELL)

The Croatian diaspora around the world has supplied Croatia with a number of talented football players over the years. 

Joe Šimunić from Australia, Ivan Rakitić from Switzerland and the Kovač brothers from Germany to name just a few. But it is not just the men’s national team.

The Croatian women’s national team have just played two qualifiers for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Moldova and Romania with the squad featuring three players from the Grasshoppers club in Switzerland.   

We caught up with one of them, striker Ana Maria Marković

“My Croatian heritage is from my mother, who is from Split. I was also born in Split and we came to Switzerland when I was 12 years old and was still quite young,” Ana Maria starts telling us, before adding.

“My path to get to where I am today was quite long and hard, the change from Croatia to Switzerland was not easy at all. Although of course, the fact that Switzerland is so welcoming and so beautiful made everything a little easier.”

Growing up the last decade in Zurich, Ana Maria says that Croatian culture has been a very important part of her.  

“That’s why I’ve always felt part of Croatia. I learned the language well. I think the fact of what I mentioned above helped me a lot. Croatia is always in my heart.”

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A post shared by Ana Maria Marković⚡️ (@anamxrkovic)

Ana Maria started playing football at the age of 14 and soon realised she had a talent for the game. 

“I started playing because of the motivation I felt when I saw that women’s football was growing more and more. Also because of the motivation generated by watching some men’s football matches, especially when Cristiano Ronaldo was playing, obviously,” she says, before adding.

“I played in some little-known amateur clubs. At first it started as a form of a hobby, but then thanks to all the support I received from my family and my environment, I was improving. I was always a forward, it was what I liked the most – scoring goals.”

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A post shared by Ana Maria Marković⚡️ (@anamxrkovic)

Ana Maria says her strengths are her explosiveness when running, always looking for the ball and not giving up, and also being able to move in space correctly. 

“My talent was born from training, dedication and perseverance, that is the key, of course I always feel that I can improve more. I train almost every day of the week.”

It did not take the Grasshoppers’ striker long to catch the eye of the Croatian federation.

“I already had Croatian citizenship and the national team staff contacted me, they told me that I had the opportunity to play for the Croatian national team and I did not hesitate for a moment. It was something that filled me with pride and a lot of motivation. I chose Croatia because I was born there, because I belong where I am from and it will always be that way,” she says. 

The 22-year-old, who has scored 9 goals this season for her club, says that the quality of the Swiss women’s league is high.

“The Swiss women’s league is a very high level, but not very popular compared to say the Bundesliga for example, which is quite unfair,” she says, adding the level of the Croatians is also high. 

When it comes to her favorite player in the world, there is only one. 

“My favorite player is undoubtedly Cristiano Ronaldo, and he always will be. What he did and continues to do throughout his football career is impressive and incomparable. I consider him the best in the entire history of football. My favorite Croatian player though is Luka Modrić.”

Whilst football takes up most of her time, Ana Maria says in her free time she spends most of studying, training, and going out with friends. She also has built up a big following on Instagram with close to 400,000 fans.

“Sometimes I don’t have time for much, but I do my best.”

Despite having ties to Split, the Croatian capital has a special place in her heart.  

“I visit Croatia whenever I can. Although due to training with my club, right now time is the least I have. Zagreb is my favorite place, I love Zagreb, I always carry a little piece of Zagreb with me everywhere and a little piece of me always stays there. I love it. Zagorski štrukli is also without a doubt my favorite Croatian food.”

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A post shared by Ana Maria Marković⚡️ (@anamxrkovic)

And lastly, what are her goals?

“My goals always year after year is to be able to compete to win the league and all the trophies that are within our reach. The same with Croatia, always being able to give my best both for my club and for my national team and thus be able to win collective titles, which are the ones I give the most importance to,” Ana Maria concludes. 

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A post shared by Ana Maria Marković⚡️ (@anamxrkovic)

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