AIRLINK 86.21 Decreased By ▼ -0.99 (-1.14%)
BOP 4.97 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-1%)
CNERGY 4.08 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.24%)
DFML 37.22 Decreased By ▼ -0.68 (-1.79%)
DGKC 91.20 Decreased By ▼ -2.68 (-2.85%)
FCCL 22.99 Decreased By ▼ -0.78 (-3.28%)
FFBL 33.74 Increased By ▲ 1.07 (3.28%)
FFL 9.19 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-0.65%)
GGL 10.05 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.2%)
HASCOL 6.25 Decreased By ▼ -0.29 (-4.43%)
HBL 126.25 Increased By ▲ 4.33 (3.55%)
HUBC 158.29 Increased By ▲ 12.64 (8.68%)
HUMNL 11.08 Increased By ▲ 0.58 (5.52%)
KEL 4.64 Decreased By ▼ -0.10 (-2.11%)
KOSM 4.09 Decreased By ▼ -0.10 (-2.39%)
MLCF 38.25 Decreased By ▼ -0.55 (-1.42%)
OGDC 133.40 Decreased By ▼ -1.61 (-1.19%)
PAEL 25.40 Increased By ▲ 0.32 (1.28%)
PIBTL 6.22 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-0.8%)
PPL 119.25 Decreased By ▼ -0.43 (-0.36%)
PRL 24.58 Increased By ▲ 0.48 (1.99%)
PTC 12.28 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (0.49%)
SEARL 59.32 Decreased By ▼ -0.48 (-0.8%)
SNGP 65.60 Increased By ▲ 0.60 (0.92%)
SSGC 9.87 Decreased By ▼ -0.18 (-1.79%)
TELE 7.85 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.25%)
TPLP 9.49 Decreased By ▼ -0.25 (-2.57%)
TRG 63.80 Decreased By ▼ -0.50 (-0.78%)
UNITY 27.26 Increased By ▲ 0.21 (0.78%)
WTL 1.28 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-3.03%)
BR100 8,343 Increased By 33.1 (0.4%)
BR30 26,460 Increased By 509.8 (1.96%)
KSE100 78,810 Increased By 9 (0.01%)
KSE30 25,474 Increased By 35.6 (0.14%)
Sports

'We worship him': Euro swansong for Pandev, N.Macedonia's captain

  • "He is loved by both coaches and teammates. He understands football, he has it in his pocket."
Published June 3, 2021

SKOPJE: When Goran Pandev stabbed home the winning goal that sent North Macedonia to a European Championship for the first time, he was merely capping his status as the country's greatest sportsman.

Euro 2020 may well be the swansong for the 37-year-old captain, who won the Champions League with Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in 2010.

He has already hinted as much, telling journalists recently: "It will for sure be a tournament of emotions because for me these are the last matches."

Never say never. Pandev has tried to quit the national team before but he was persuaded to rejoin after two years away.

Apart from that break, he has been a fixture of the national team for 20 years, scoring a record 37 goals in 118 caps.

Among them was a tap-in that helped consign Germany to defeat earlier this year -- the former champions' first World Cup qualifier reverse in two decades.

But he regards the close range shot against Georgia that sealed Euro qualification as the most important.

"That is my dearest goal because finally we qualified for a major tournament," he has said.

The magnitude of that achievement cannot be understated -- five years ago, North Macedonia were ranked 162 out of just over 200 teams.

They had never even been close to qualification before.

'Amazing person'

For many fans, Pandev is the key to this sporting miracle.

He is the "backbone" of the current team who motivates the rest of the players, says Erol Shakiri, a fan from the capital Skopje.

"Pandev is our best football player of all time and we worship him," writes one Twitter user.

"He is loved by both coaches and teammates. He understands football, he has it in his pocket."

Unlike several of the other former Yugoslav countries, tiny North Macedonia can boast of few genuine sporting legends.

But this is a different era, where sports stars are almost expected to broadcast political opinions, create branding partnerships and project themselves far beyond their sport.

Pandev is something different -- a modest and understated professional who largely limits his public comments to football.

Even his social media is a low-key affair, dominated by pictures of his family and football, with one commenter summarising the general opinion of his countrymen: "Legend and amazing person."

Comments

Comments are closed.