Ten questions for Edin Dzeko: 'When I first started I was a winger!'

We sat down with Roma striker Edin Dzeko to learn more about his career in football - from his surprisinglu late introduction to the game, to his most memorable match to date and the individuals that have most helped his career.

Dzeko, 30, has enjoyed a successful career throughout European football - winning league titles at both Wolfsburg and Manchester City. He started his career at Bosnian side Zeljeznicar, before going on to make a name for himself in the Czech First Divison with Teplice.

Entering his second season with the Giallorossi, Dzeko has got off to a fast start so far - he currently sits joint-top of the goalscoring standings alongside Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi, having scored 10 goals in the club's first 12 games.

Find out more about Dzeko's path to the Stadio Olimpico and his career in football.

Who was your idol when you were a child?

"When I was growing up it was Andriy Shevchenko. I used to watch a lot of Serie A games because it was the best league at that time, and for me he was the best striker around. I remember his games for AC Milan, of course, but I also remember him for Dynamo Kiev – I remember the hat-trick he scored against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

"That was probably the first time I saw him; I can’t remember exactly because it was a long time ago. But for me he was the No. 1 player.”

Did you play any other sports?

"I used to play basketball at school, for the school team. I used to do athletics – the 1000m and things like that – but football was always the No. 1 for me. It was always what I wanted to do and what I liked to do. But I have to say, remembering back when I was at school, I used to mostly play basketball after school.

"I used to watch a lot of NBA and of course the Bosnian national team as well."

What position did you play as a kid?

"When I started playing I played as the No. 7, so the right wing. But I don’t know, I was always scoring goals from when I was very little so it is weird that I started on the wing - but at some point they decided to put me upfront and then I scored a lot of goals. I played for Zeljeznicar throughout my junior career. 

"I started playing football when I was 10 years old. When the war finished in Bosnia my father took me to Zeljeznicar, it was a difficult time for everyone but I started to play then - and look where I am now, 20 years later!"

What memories do you have of your first professional game?

"I can’t remember my very first game for the club, I think it was an away game, we were losing 2-1. And the coach put me on for the last 10 minutes and told me to score two goals. Unfortunately I didn’t - we lost the game! - but I think that was my first match."

Which is the game that you remember most?

"It’s probably the first game I played for Bosnia. It was 2007, we played Turkey at home, and I started the game in my first ever match for the national team. We were down 2-1 and I scored my goal in added time in the first half. 

"I scored a beautiful goal, my first ever for the national team, and in the end we won 3-2 – it is probably a game I will never forget."


Who is the toughest player you have faced in your career?

"It is difficult to say. I have played against so many good defenders, sometimes it was much harder to play against smaller teams, against defenders who are not so popular like the other defenders. So I don’t know about the strongest.

"If I had to think about one I would perhaps say Sergio Ramos – I have played against him so many times for Manchester City, Roma and the national team. He is definitely up there with the best defenders I have faced."

And the best player you’ve lined up alongside?

"Another difficult one! I have played with so many good players but probably the best I’ve played with is David Silva. I used to call him ‘little magician’ because this guy was brilliant with his feet, he could take any ball you gave him, control it, and pass it on.

All of us were always amazed by his ability and technique. He is definitely the best I’ve played with."

What’s your favourite stadium?

"The Santiago Bernabeu is one of the most beautiful. There are so many others, like the Nou Camp, but there is something special about the Bernabeu. It has the history to it, and also the way to is designed - with the stands rising so high, so vertical - is impressive."

Who’s been the most influential person in your career?

"My parents. I started playing football when I was 10 years old, so probably a bit late compared to the kids today who are maybe five or six, and it was a difficult time after the war for me and my family.

"But still my parents took me to the club, to start training, and since then they have always been behind me through good and bad. They are the people I have to thank the most for everything I’ve done."

And finally, what is the best part of being a footballer?

"For me the best part of being a footballer is scoring goals! The emotion of putting the ball in the net, it is something incredible which you cannot describe."