2022.08.14 09:47 Frissítve: 2022.08.14 09:47

Foreign players: I think I can reach my goal in Türkiye, too – Nemanja Nikolic

Nemanja Nikolić (34), a 43-time capped Hungarian player, has signed to the Turkish second division – he talked to Nemzeti Sport first about the background of his decision, his impressions of Pendikspor, and his farewell to Fehérvár.

Nemanja Nikolić would also be the top scorer in Türkiye (Photo: Pendikspor)


– You've never been a top scorer in the second division, have you?
– No, I haven't, so it's about time... – Nemanja Nikolić got the message in our interview that he gave us now as a striker for Turkish club Pendikspor. – I had a good fall season in NB II in the past, I scored eleven goals in fourteen games for Kaposvölgye. If I hadn't transferred to Kaposvár in the winter, I would have had a good chance to finish the season at the top of the scoring charts, but I couldn't say no to the call of the topflight Rákóczi. One thing is for sure: whoever I sign with, I am motivated to score the most goals. It was the same at Vidi, Legia, and Chicago, and it's the same now at Pendikspor. As a striker, I can't be driven by anything else, and also because the more I score, the more I help my team. I will do everything I can in Türkiye to achieve what I did in Hungary, Poland, and the United States, which means to become the top scorer in a fourth country as well. Okay, not in the first league, but in the second league, but that's also a challenge for me. I'm feeling a bit strange, I don't know what to expect from this adventure, but I believe I can achieve my goal here.

– On Thursday evening, many were surprised by the unexpected announcement that you will continue your career at Pendikspor. Did everything happen really that quickly?

– It could hardly have happened any faster. After it became clear that Fehérvár would not be counting on me in the future, I was prepared to wait until the end of the transfer period to make a decision. As I was aware that at the age of thirty-four I was not the first option for most clubs, I was surprised to find that I had already received many offers in July, and I spoke to the sports directors of four or five teams.

– According to the news, Spain's Malaga was one of the most interested parties.
– It's true, we were negotiating, we were close to an agreement, but in the end, the managers signed someone else. It's football, there's nothing wrong with that.

– There was also news from Bačka Topola, less than forty kilometers from your hometown of Zenta.
– Yes, I also spoke to the owner of TSC, János Zsemberi. On the one hand, I was also attracted by the opportunity to join a great club and, on the other hand, I could have been close to my family in Székesfehérvár. However, life turned out differently, and I would like to thank János Zsemberi for his confidence in me. From the very first moment, he was fair and honest with me as I was with him.

– Who else was interested in you?
– There were offers from Cyprus, Poland, and even Australia, but there's no need to talk about them now because I signed to Türkiye. It's no secret that three weeks ago I was approached by another Turkish team that had just been relegated from the first division but would like to get back immediately. At first, it seemed that the managers were doing everything they could to sign me, but then the great enthusiasm was followed by a great silence, which I could not explain. In the meantime, my manager Vladan Filipović traveled to Istanbul on Monday with Roland Ugrai to seal the deal with Pendikspor. On Tuesday, he contacted me to say that the president was keen to have me on his team. Suddenly I didn't even know which team it was. In any case, what Vladan Filipović told me piqued my interest, so I got on a plane on Wednesday. I saw for myself that what I had heard on the phone was true. Despite being a newcomer team to the second division, there is no shortage of plans, and the president is very ambitious. It turns out that several players have arrived from the Süper Lig and five or six players who have won a league title in the second tier have been added to the squad. I have also consulted with the coach, who prefers the attacking football style, which obviously means a lot to me. I'm not one to make quick decisions, I've considered every move carefully throughout my career, but this time, I had to decide almost overnight. I was already convinced that I didn't want to wait any longer, I didn't want to join a league in the fifth or sixth round, so I went for it.

Nemanja Nikolić and Roland Ugrai with their manager, Vladan Filipović (right)

– What are your first impressions?
– Absolutely positive! It's a small club, not even traditional, but it has its own charm. Everyone is nice and helpful, and the fact that Roland will be my teammate has also helped a lot, and I also have an old acquaintance in Khaly Thiam, whom I used to play with for Kaposvár and MTK. In the past, I kind of knew where I was going and what was waiting for me, but not this time. However, I have no fear, but more so curiosity.

– Have you put behind you what happened in Fehérvár?
– It's been two months since I found out that I was no longer counted on. The first few days were terrible, but as time went by, my mood got better and better. Every era comes to an end one day, mine ended after seven years. In those seven years, I achieved wonderful success with the team. There were some wonderful moments and some failures, but I tried to learn from them. I am extremely proud to have worn the Vidi jersey! And of course, I'm proud to be the club's goal-scoring record holder. When I came back from the U.S. two and a half years ago, I planned to retire from Fehérvár and beating the goalscoring record of living legend József Szabó was in front of my eyes. One of my wishes is fulfilled, the other isn't...

– Are you angry about that unfulfilled wish??

– Look, I have never demanded a hired place in the team, I have never been anyone's favorite player, I have fought for what I have achieved with honor. This city, this club means much more to me than to others, it's no coincidence that Székesfehérvár became our home. I am grateful to people, especially the fans for these seven years. To this day, I still receive messages from them, I think they love me not because I scored so many goals, but because they saw that the red and blue jersey is sacred to me. I also feel that I did what I could, I left with my head held high and maybe even set an example to some young people. So, what I had planned didn't come to fruition, but as a player, I have to accept that. However, nothing can break this bond: I was a Vidi footballer, I am now a Vidi fan, and if I ever see my son running out onto the pitch in a Vidi shirt, I will be the happiest man in the world.

 What you need to know about Pendikspor: the club was founded in 1950, and it is based in Pendik, a district of Istanbul in the Asian part of the city. The team has never played in the topflight but is also a rare visitor in the second division. Football is a passion there too, of course, but fans should be quick to buy tickets as, according to official sources, the Pendik Stadium has a capacity of 2,500 people. 
2022.09.29 17:58:11

English nemzetisport.hu

If everything goes well, Roland Sallai will start training with the ball in two weeks.

2022.09.28 13:35:56

English nemzetisport.hu

Ádám Martin praised Ádám Szalai effusively after Szalai's last game for Hungary.

2022.09.27 13:37:52

English nemzetisport.hu

The head coach thinks that Dzsudzsák also deserves the farewell celebration that Szalai has received.

2022.09.25 18:26:35

English nemzetisport.hu

„It's a final against Italy, a 50-50 match, and it's great to say that.”

2022.09.24 18:06:42

English nemzetisport.hu

„Ádám Szalai is a player who, unfortunately, was and still is much more highly respected abroad than in Hungary.”