After being named Player of the year 2020 by the Slovak Football Association, AC Milan Goalkeeper Mária Korenčiová gave a long and interesting interview to Šport.sk. She spoke about her career, the surprise of winning the award, this season’s goals with AC Milan and much more.
Here are her words:
Last week, the Slovak Football Association named you the best footballer in Slovakia in the 2020 year. Did that surprise you?
“A little yes, although I always expected frin the bottom of my soul that it could happen and flip to my side. The better word in this context is that I was more pleased than surprised. “
We talk about taking you by surprise because Dominika Škorvánková dominated this award for a long time and she was definitely among the favorites, even this year.
“I understand and I see it that way myself. Dominika has won the award eight times in a row and nine times in total. Everyone, including me, always expects her to win it. For the last few years, when I got to AC Milan, I’ve been making it harder for Dominica. People voting in this award have an overview and know well women’s football.
What do you think decided that the experts and coaches chose you as the winner?
“I can’t explain it any other way. I think it was just because Dominika moved to Montpellier, which is not as well known as her previous club Bayern Munich. We both been playing regularly. Neither of us had any lost any games due to injury.
We also have good and stable performances in the national team, it is not the case that one outplay each other and the other players. It believe that, maybe, as Dominika has won the award many times, the jury considered that the time for a change had come. Maybe somehow in my long career, they decided that I deserved this award. “
Where do you rank this award in your career?
“Above all, I see it as an award for my entire career, not just last year. In a few weeks I will be 32 years old and I have been playing football since I was nine, I spend most of my life in it. I’ve never done anything else for that long. I take the award as an evaluation of what I did all my life. That’s why I regard it very highly. “
But you couldn’t receive the trophy in person. Why?
“If I came to Slovakia, after returning to Italy, I would have to go to quarantine for eight days and then undergo a coronavirus test, which, of course, would have to be negative. We played a city derby with Inter last weekend and it was out of the question for me to miss it.
Also, a week’s outage from training with the team would also not be good for me. There are exceptions for athletes, when they would not have to go to quarantine after returning from Slovakia, but they only apply to matches or national team events. This exception does not apply to the announcement of the award and the acceptance of the price. That’s why I stayed in Italy. “
Was It worth it? Did you help Milan to get a good result against Inter?
“We won 4: 1, we came from 0: 1 and I played the whole match. So, yes, it paid off. Although, of course, I would like to come to take over the prize and also play the league match. Unfortunately, i just couldn’t do both. “
When will you be in Slovakia?
“Next Wednesday, after Easter, a representative meeting will begin. I got the call-up for two friendly matches against Slovenia and Mexico. So I will come to Slovakia next week. “
Now let’s talk about the club. AC Milan is in second place in Serie A behind Juventus. What’s your take on this?
“We are six points behind Juventus. Every year we get closer to them, but Juve don’t waste time and step up every year. It’s getting harder and harder to catch up. So far they have won all 16 matches, we have 14 wins and two losses. Both with Juventus. We lost the first match with a 0: 1 goal from the penalty. I didn’t catch it, i didn’t guessed the right side the ball went. A draw would be more deserved, but it’s history now.
In the second game, which I also played, we got trashed 0: 4, but, for me, that was nothing. Our goal is to finish in second place. The first two clubs in the league make it to the Champions League. AC Milan has never played in it. We have a five points advantage over third-place Sassuolo. I believe we will do it. Although we still have tough opponents ahead of us, while Sassuolo has already played most of them. There are five games left until the end of the league. “
Let’s go back to the last season, which was interrupted due to a coronavirus pandemic. How did your team end up in it?
“Juventus was crowned champions because they had a 9-point lead on before the complet halt. Fiorentina and Milan where level in points on second and third place. Fiorentina had a better goal difference, so they finished second and made it to the Champions League. Both Italian teams have already dropped out. Fiorentina with Manchester City and Juventus with Lyon, which is the best women’s team in Europe. “
There is probably a good atmosphere in AC Milan, when the women’s team is heading to the Champions League for the first time in history, and it also looks good with the men’s team.
“Exactly, this resonates with us. Because we’re still in the pandemic, so we don’t get in touch with men’s team. Zlatan Ibrahimovič also remained in the club, after renewing his contract for another season. It’s a role model, a legend, pulls the team in all matches, but I haven’t had a chance to meet him in person yet. “
Let’s also talk about the Slovakia Women’s national team. In the UEFA Euro 2022 Qualis, we finished in third place with ten points. Was it a success in your opinion?
“Yes! We were drawn from the fourth pot, so we avoided Hungary, which was in the third pot. If you look it that way, it was quite a successful qualification. With Iceland, which is one of the best teams in the world, we lost 1: 3 at home after two goals from the penalty spot. We led 1-0, it was probably our best game.
Every point we’ve got is very important for the future, so that we can move to a higher post. The main goal is, of course, to advance to the final stage. Just playing the playoffs, though, would be a success, it would be something amazing. “
How do you see the current performances and results of the Slovak men’s national team?
“It is difficult for me to evaluate it but i will not lie, the results are bad. I’ve seen matches and I feel like there’s something squeaking there. It does not belong to me to evaluate from the outside, because I do not know what the situation is inside. Anyway, we have to win over an opponent like Malta. That says it all. ”
Image credits: acmilan.com