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Exclusive: Ivica Olic

‘I think it’s something you’re born with’

Ivica Olic’ indefatigable running and fighting spirit has made him an instant hit with the Bayern faithful. The Croatia international, who switched from Hamburg to Munich last summer and is nicknamed Ivi, admits he “never expected” to settle in so quickly at FCB, as he exclusively told The 30-year-old is bristling with determination, and fully expects to win his first trophy with a German club this term.

Interview: Ivica Olic Ivi, you’ve been named Croatia Player of the Year 2009. What does that mean to you?
Ivica Olic: “The award has a long history in my home country. It’s been going for 38 years, previously including the whole of the former Yugoslavia. I’ve been second a few times, so I’m thrilled to win it at last – and obviously, I’d like to retain the award in 2010.” If you keep up your current form, it has to be a realistic possibility, although did you honestly expect your switch from Hamburg to Munich to go so well?
Olic: “No, I never expected it to go the way it has, because the competition at Bayern is so intense. But from the start, I was determined to give everything I have and battle away for every minute I had on the field. I was a sub to start with, but I think I’ve been able to show what I can do recently, although it’s frankly easy to deliver in such a quality team.” After a long lay-off in the autumn, you returned to the starting line-up for the home meeting with Maccabi – and Bayern have won every game since then.
Olic: “It’s a nice story, but I’m just pleased it’s going so well for us as a team. We’d dropped far too many points in the Bundesliga, but we’ve fought our way back now. However, we’re not first yet, so we have to keep on working hard, especially as we basically have two games a week from now until the end of the season. That’ll drain our energy, but we have a large, high-quality squad. The likes of Ribéry and Klose were subs against Mainz.” But Ribéry and Klose want their places back. Are you afraid of losing your place in the team, and how do you cope with the fierce competition at Bayern?
Olic: “Obviously, everyone wants to play, and everyone’s good enough to play. We’re all classy footballers. I’m in the team for now, and all I can do is give everything to keep it that way. And if I do occasionally start as a sub and then come on later, I’ll do my best for the team. Our success as a team is always the most important thing to me.” That’s your trademark isn’t it: ceaseless running, harrying, chasing, going the extra yard. Where do you get those attributes?
Olic: “I think it’s something you’re born with. I’ve never played any other way, those have always been my strengths, and they’re what I’m known for. It’s going very well for now, and I hope I can keep it up.”