Flavien Michelini Found Second Love in Thai Premier League
Since his move up north, from S-League to Thai Premier League, every fan has been asking about the former Etoile FC playmaker who has bags of tricks in his locker. Junpiter Futbol heard the calling,
Since his move up north, from S-League to Thai Premier League, every fan has been asking about the former Etoile FC playmaker who has bags of tricks in his locker. Junpiter Futbol heard the calling, flew to Thailand, had an exclusive interview with the former S-League championship winner, and current Bangkok Glass FC star midfielder, Flavien Michelini! How is he doing in the Land of Smile, let JPF TALK shares with you!￼
JPF: We have missed your trickery footwork in S-League for the past 2 years, so how have you been in the Thai Premier League (TPL)?
FM: Well, after winning S-League title and FA Cup with Etoile FC in year 2010, I had this intention to move on, play for a local club in S-League. Unfortunately, I did not receive offer so I went back to France to play for FC Gueugno in the 3rd division. Not long after, Bangkok Glass FC (BGFC) contacted me. I thought that was a great opportunity to come back to Asia. BGFC and I agreed on the terms and here I am in Thailand.
JPF: What is the difference between TPL and S-League?
FM: Firstly, the crowd turnout in TPL is one huge difference. On an average home game, the attendance is about 10,000! Every player loves to play in front of big crowd, play in big stadium day in day out. Secondly, the standard between the teams in TPL is very close and competitive. For example, previously when I was playing in the S-League, Etoile, Home Utd, Tampines and SAF were the only strong teams. Here in TPL, the standards of all the teams are almost equivalent. Every week, every game is a fight. (JPF: Can S-League top team match TPL team?) Recently, Chonburi FC struggled to win Home Utd by a goal at home in the AFC Cup. You know Chonburi is a top quality team in TPL and if Home Utd lost by just a goal, it speaks a lot on S-League’s standard.
photo from bangkokglassfc.com
JPF: How do you overcome language barrier playing oversea?
FM: I didn’t have such a problem as I studied English back in France. I love to speak English. Especially in Singapore, absolutely no problem. I am learning to speak a little Thai too but of course I learn the futbol language first, for example words like “man-on” or “turn-like-this” and etc. (JPF: For everybody’s info, Flavien actually ordered the coffee for the interview in fluent Thai language!)
JPF: Why you decided to come to Asia in the first place?
FM: I played for quite awhile in France but I have never been offered a professional contract. In order to be a true professional, I have decided to take up oversea offer. (JPF: So why Etoile?) Well, it was actually through a friend (player)’s manager, Stephane Lejeune, who is also my current manager now. I expressed my interest in joining Etoile when I knew that they were searching for players to play oversea and Stephane represented me and agreed on a term with Etoile. ￼
JPF: Is the hot weather in Bangkok the reason why you changed your hairstyle?
FM: Yes, its one of the reasons, haha! I have got my long hair for the past 2-3 years and I want to try new style. Playing with long hair is one style but sometimes you couldn’t see where’s the ball going in a game. Now, with this new hairstyle, I have a full clearer vision during the game!
JPF: What is your dress code off the pitch?
FM: T-shirt, jeans where I fold it up like a berm. (JPF: Favorite brands?) I like Ralph Lauren Polo. My father is an Italian so I like all Italian brands! JPF: Do you follow any particular futbol player’s off-the-pitch dressing? FM: I don’t really care about other futbol players’ lifestyle outside the futbol pitch. They are human too so they do what they want. I will never try to impersonate others’ fashion. I dress what I want so long as it’s comfortable. And I create my own style. However, I follow Mario Balotelli cause he always got into trouble, haha!
photo from bangkokglassfc.com
JPF: What do you think of the current France NT under Laurent Blanc?
FM: Of course it’s better than before. After the French disaster in World Cup South Africa, the image of French players, including me playing oversea, were affected. People said nasty things about us, the French. Then Laurent came in. He tried to change the mentality and spirit of the team. France plays better now but nothing close to the 1998 World Cup winning team.
JPF: How do you think France will fair in this Euro 2012?
FM: Seriously, I don’t think they can win. Spain, Netherlands and Germany are good. To me, these are the current top 3 teams in Europe. Never say France can’t win Euro 2012 but Spain, Netherlands and Germany are good challengers. Maybe quarter-final could be a more realistic target. ￼
photo from bangkokglassfc.com
JPF: Any futbol superstition before a game?
FM: I used to have a lot of those “stupid” superstitions like always putting my left foot onto the pitch first. I also had the habit of remembering what were my good moves in the previous game, then I would try to make the same moves in the next game. Then gradually I realized that I have been thinking too much, putting too much unnecessary pressure on myself. So I have stopped all these “stupid” habits. Now I focus on my game and enjoy my futbol.
JPF: As a trickery playmaker, what do you think of your play?
FM: I know some players do not like my style of play and they would try to kick me. I am just enjoying my game. My pleasure on the pitch is like this, I never want to change that. I believe when fans come to watch futbol, they want to enjoy themselves. I believe my style of play will entertain them. (JPF: Selfish player?) I am never a selfish player. Sometimes, I worried people might mistaken me as a selfish player, so at times when I was at a goal-scoring position, I would pass to my team mate to score.
JPF: Favorite player?
FM: Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. (JPF: Why?) Although both of them are small in size (like me), they use their brains to play futbol. Moreover we play in the same position too. (JPF: Favorite team?) I like AC Milan in Italian Serie A, I like Manchester Utd in EPL, I like Lyon in French Ligue-1 but if I have to choose one team, it will have to be Barcelona from La Liga. I like their style of play.
JPF: Toughest defender you ever faced?
FM: One of the toughest defenders I ever faced was former S-League’s defender, Valery Hiek! We are currently playing together in BGFC! When I come across a good defender, I will not be afraid. If you are scare, you can’t enjoy the game.
JPF: Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
FM: I would like to stay in Asia for another 2-3 years. Futbol life is short, I am still young but I would like to save up and eventually buy a house back in France where I can be with my family, my love ones again. (JPF: Back to S-League?) Well, I like Home Utd’s play. They have a very intelligent player, Shi Jiayi, and together with Qiu Li, they play one of the most beautiful futbol games in the S-League. Their Korean coach looks like someone who loves passing futbol and I like passing futbol! ￼
JPF: Any words of encouragement for Junpiter Futbol followers who want to be a professional futbol player like you?
FM: Being a professional futbol player is never easy. Its tough. Now you are having a good moment but sometimes a really bad moment the next day. You have to be mentality strong. You will meet people who don’t believe in you but you have to trust yourself that you can do it. And also you have to enjoy the game. Its your job and you have to be serious. Keep on training to improve yourself.
JPF: Complete this sentence: I will never be who I am today without ……..
FM: My younger brother. My family lost my younger brother to an illness 12 years ago. My mum lost a child and I lost a brother. Our family and I underwent a terrible period of time then. The passing on of my younger brother has given me all the motivations in life. All the passwords to my computers and stuffs are all about him. Time heals everything but when times are bad, when I’m alone in this part of the world, I will always tell myself I am still doing good, I am still lucky. This is not the worst.