Football » Fudbal | 109 Because of the people, mentality, cuisine, customs…” You are a Serbian ambassador of sport. What have foreigners asked you about our country? “One thing that‘s dear to me is that I‘ve contributed with my work to Serbia being spoken about in the world in a nice way. During the period when I was in Japan, some things happened here in that 1999, so my engagements in the media went in that direction. To explain myself. I tried to utilise the moment, to utilise the charisma and the name I carry. Athletes are ambassadors of their country and if they are also successful, then that‘s a complete hit. I always had in mind that I represent Serbia in the best possible way. I will do that until the end.” How much do they know about Serbia in Japan and China? “To be objective, they didn‘t know much. Europe is small to them, never mind Serbia. But when you talk about customs, about tradition, about the history that we have, then their interest is piqued. It is interesting that then everyone wants to come to Serbia. Do I perhaps speak nicely? I’mkidding, but they really are enticed to come to our country and to get to know us better. This Japanese guy who is now inmy professional staff, with the Serbian national team, Katshuhito Kinoshi, has come to Belgrade for the first time. And the guy is delighted. It seems that everything I told him wasn‘t enough. He tells me that his impressions were even better when he saw the real Serbia. I also feel an obligation to protect my origins. We must know where we come from and who we are, and we must defend our sacred land. That‘s the DNA we carry and I can‘t be anything other than a Serb.” What interests your guests the most while they‘re in Serbia? “There are a lot of things. We are a country rich in history. They are primarily interested in museums. There you can see the identity card of a country, a nation. Museums give you the right picture. Skadarlija [the Bohemian Quarter] is unavoidable. It is a monument to Belgrade and Serbia in itself. And there are many Skadarlija type places in Serbia, not only in the capital. Everything they see is new to themand remains in their fond memories. Kalemegdan is unavoidable, with everything related to history, the story about the fortress, the rise of Serbia... Churches and monasteries give you a real emotional awareness to understand your origins. They basically have some prejudices about us. For example, Americans are thrilled when they come to Serbia. The cuisine delights them. And when I go somewhere I also like to try the local cuisine, local dishes, as they do in Serbia. They feel nice, and they leave with even fonder memories.” To conclude, we can‘t avoid mentioning the novel coronavirus? “That is part of our lives. A virus that has practically hit the entire planet. It is not at all pleasant to wear and live with a mask. But there are worse things after all. You have to act responsibly. It‘s a little uncomfortable, but we have to trust the medical profession when it comes to health. We mustn‘t do what we think, but rather must listen. When I arrived in Japan in the mid-1990s, it was strange to me that most people wore masks. When I asked them why they wear them, they replied that someone has a cough, is sick and doesn‘t want to infect others. So, even back then they cared for others and their surroundings, when we didn‘t even know about masks. Nothing that must be done is difficult.” Bravo za Er Srbiju! Proputovali ste celu planetu. Kakvo iskustvo imate sa Er Srbijom? – Putovao sam Er Srbijom u Njujork, sa porodicom iz Beograda. Mogu reći da smo se osećali kao kod kuće, posada je bila fenomenalna, vrhunska, profesionalna ekipa. Super i bravo. I danas redovno koristim usluge našeg avio-prevoznika kada god letim iz Beograda ili kada dolazim iz Pariza. To je dobro, jer tako i reklamiramo našu državu, a i naše je i lepo piše Er Srbija. Vidi se napredak u svim segmentima, ali ja hoću da vidim napredak i u fudbalu. WELL DONE TOAIR SERBIA! You‘ve travelled the entire planet. What kinds of experiences have you had with Air Serbia? “I travelled with Air Serbia to New York, with my family from Belgrade. I can say that we felt at home, the crewwas phenomenal, the team that was there was at a professional level. Great and well done. Today I also regularly use the services of our airline, whenever I go somewhere from Belgrade, or when I come from Paris. That‘s good, because in this way we also advertise our country. And it‘s ours and is written nicely ‚Air Serbia‘. Progress is visible in all segments, but I also want to see progress in football.”