Fri, 28/07/23, 20:03
Josip Stanišić: My mindset is: I'm ready!
Josip Stanišić has firmly established himself in the FC Bayern senior squad. The Munich-born player has made 40 appearances for the German record champions in the past two seasons. Yet his career path has not always been a smooth one. On the Audi Summer Tour, we met up with the 23-year-old defender for an interview overlooking the rooftops of Tokyo and talked about FCB's trip to Asia, an emotional moment in the car, and his goals for the new season.
Josip Stanišić - the interview
Servus, Josip! You're currently in Tokyo on the Audi Summer Tour. What impressions have you already been able to gather?
"It's the first time I've been to Asia, so it's very special. Tokyo is incredibly impressive. You immediately notice how clean the city is - and the people here are very polite. I was walking around the city with Leroy [Sané] and Jamal [Musiala] on Thursday afternoon. People kept recognising us, greeting us and wanting to take selfies. Everyone was super friendly. To be able to experience the culture here like this is very nice."
Is there anything you're particularly looking forward to in the coming days?
"After the game against Manchester City, I'm also very excited about the upcoming games. The Liverpool match will be a very good comparison for us. In general, we want to take the next steps here in preparation for the new season. I'm also really looking forward to Singapore. That will certainly be another new experience."
You're the only native of Munich in the senior squad - what does it mean to you to play for FC Bayern?
"For me, it's the fulfilment of a childhood dream. I've been a Bayern fan ever since I can remember - my father's influence on me (smiles). The fact that I've made it here is a huge thing and certainly wasn't always necessarily foreseeable."
As you allude to, your career path has been a somewhat unconventional one. You played for Fürstenfeldbruck until just before your 17th birthday. Did you still dream of a career as a professional footballer back then?
"The dream is always alive, of course. In my youth, there were a few times when I thought about going to FC Bayern. At first, however, I stayed at TSV 1860 because I thought I had more of a chance of making it there. Then, in the U15s, I was lagging behind a bit physically, and when it was clear that I wasn't going to stay at 1860, I went to Fürstenfeldbruck because my best mate played there. I just wanted to play football, but I never stopped believing in it."
Then the move to FC Bayern happened after all...
"In the U17s we played against Unterhaching with Fürstenfeldbruck, and I scored a goal and delivered an assist in a 2-2 draw. After that, I was invited to try out for Bayern - I was overjoyed. After two or three months of training with the team, the transfer worked out.“
You then established yourself in the FCB youth team. Is there a moment you look back on with particular fondness?
"One special moment was of course the third division championship with the reserves. Nobody expected that and it was something very special. All that experience in the third division helped me a lot in my development."
Your professional debut, your first championship, your first competitive goal - a lot has happened in the past two years...
"Two years ago, I would never have thought I would experience so much in this amount of time. Of course, there are always ups and downs, including some injuries I suffered. But all in all, the past few years have been extremely positive. I also played my first few games for the Croatian national team. A few months previously, I would never have dreamt that I would play for the national team, because at that time I was still playing for the reserves."
How did you find out about your first call-up to the national team?
"When I took the call from the Croatian football federation, I was in the car with my parents and my sister. My mobile phone was connected to the car and everyone was able to listen in. They told me that I would be invited to play for the senior national team. I was perplexed at first, then I looked to my right. My parents started crying, my sister was crying - it was a very emotional moment and I was very happy my family were able to experience it first-hand with me."
What role has your family played in your career?
"They brought me to where I am now. My parents took on all sorts of hardships. My mother, no matter what happened, was always there for me and took care of everything. My father has always really pushed me. They've had a huge impact on me."
At the World Cup last winter, you reached the semi-finals with Croatia - what did you take away from the tournament?
"It was a huge experience. To come third with a small country like Croatia is just amazing. I've experienced an enormous amount of positive things in the past two years, many things I would never have dreamed of in my life.“
Many of your contemporaries particularly appreciate that you're hard-working. How would you characterise yourself?
"Hard-working and ambitious is a good description. Of course I'm happy when others see it that way too. You can't make it in professional football without these two components, unless you're a huge talent. That wasn't necessarily the case with me and that's why I had to utilise other attributes."
You're heading into your third season as a professional footballer with FC Bayern. What have you set yourself?
"We want to win titles. In the past few years, the way we've been knocked out of the DFB Cup and the Champions League has always been extremely annoying. Personally, I want to stay injury-free. It's important, especially in my position, that if someone drops out, I'm ready to take my chance. My goal is to play as many games as possible. I know there's a lot of competition at Bayern. That's why you should never take it for granted when you play. I'm going in with the mindset that I'm ready when the coach needs me and that I'll make it as difficult as possible for him to do without me."
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