Football: Former Serie A professional Neven Subotic: “Football in itself does not interest me”

Subotic was a two-time champion with BVB – today he supports a drinking water foundation in Africa. He is “very upset” about the top-class sport.

You have until the summer of 2021 for the season SCR Altach in Austria Playing, he’s been without a club ever since. Was it with a professional career?

Nevin Subotic: yes. I haven’t had time to make it official yet.

instead of football To play, you have become an author. In your book, you describe your path from refugee child to famous footballer as well as your work as founder and president of your organization.

Subotic: Football is an important part of my life and I also love football. But I’m not just a football player. Of course I also wanted to describe what’s behind the athlete’s life. But the second part is the part my heart burns for. This is what I live for. The institution has been in existence for ten years. This is also the benefit of the book. Many people in the community are as confused as I was. We don’t know much about the outside world, so we can only act to a limited extent. But the book is not directive in the sense: do it, this is the right way. I can only say: This is my path and after ten years it is no longer just a stage but a goal I have found.

When the Neven Subotic travels to one of the places where the well was built, there is often a celebration. Here he sings with the people of Jabba in northeastern Tigray (a region in northern Ethiopia).

Photo: Patrick Timme, Philip Nolte

Are you really going to say you were confused?

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Subotic: Confused: What am I doing with my life? Football itself is great. It’s beautiful, but it’s also blinding. When you train from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., other things happen, too. But if you step away from yourself and do not participate in social life at all, this ideal role that you lost will be lost. I couldn’t handle that. The simplest thing is to orient yourself to the standards. But it wasn’t my direction. I wasn’t confronting myself or anything else and asking myself: Is this true? I assumed it was correct because that’s what I see.

Maybe you can explain it in a nutshell?

Subotic: In an elitist economic context, you are little celebrated. You go to the Children’s Hospital with your team, you talk to the kids a bit and hand out promotional products. There is a contradiction between feedback and reality.

I set up a foundation ten years ago and work with local partners to boost water utilities in East of AfricaDrilling wells and constructing sewage systems. In addition, knowledge on how to maintain systems is imparted. This is not necessarily the normal recreational activity of a professional football player …

Subotic: While searching for the book, I looked at my own Google search from over ten years ago. There was not a single trigger then click. For me it started with a simple interest: What are the real problems? It was a realistic approach: What is there and where do I find the meaning? I cannot say that ten years ago I understood a lot, not at all. This is also an important point: you do not have to know everything before making a decision.

Why did you decide to drill wells?

Subotic: We recognize the human right to drinking water and sanitation. Women and children are outside for up to six hours a day, drawing dirty water. You can imagine what happens when you drink contaminated water every day. They get it from streams, pools, and ponds that the animals also use – and not just for drinking. This is inhumane. And it has implications for the future. Children bring water instead of going to school. Education becomes a luxury and water is a duty. This is why we are committed to the strategic anchor of water. Water is a bridge to a self-determined future.

How many wells have been built so far and how much does a well cost?

Subotic: There are 464 finished projects that approximately 180,000 people can use every day. The fountain costs about 10,000 euros. Not only do we want to increase this number, but we also want to stabilize it with boosts for the use phase.

It puts 400,000 euros into the project every year. You have earned a lot during your career as a professional soccer player, but your money is limited.

Subotic: Regardless of who I am, it is of course beneficial to find funded partners. At some point my money will run out. But I know where I invested money and I do not regret a single cent. On the contrary: I could not have invested it better.

I found my way: Neven Subotic.

Photo: Britta Pedersen, d.b.a

In the book, you describe that you sometimes feel ashamed of others who are investing more commitment. Do you understand that others feel ashamed of you when they see how much you invest?

Subotic: I can understand it, but I don’t want to evoke that feeling. I want to reach out to people who have read this and then say: Yes, that’s right. Then he asks himself what that means and takes another step. I don’t want to sound prescriptive in the sense of: do this and that. My way is to show what is right for me. And maybe you can derive something for yourself from that. I’ve found my way – and it’s not perfect either. I know not everyone has to be who I am. That would be awful.

Is there anything you took with you from your sporting life to your current job?

Subotic: subordinate Sports It has great value in life. I don’t know to what extent the competitive mentality or the feeling of the team is there for those who haven’t played for a team. Also management. If there is no clear statement from the coach regarding the exact method, it will be difficult. Sure, you want to score goals and stand in front of the goal. I can say vaguely to the employee, we want to realize our water projects and you have to manage the service area well. But what is the good? You have to define important criteria. I’ve seen a difference where it was different. So I asked: How do we get started on this? And the other players said: ‘If you know that, you know more than we do – and I was the newest at the club.

Is this how you actually work in the professional sector?

Subotic: yes. And the bad thing is: in the professional sector as well as in the business sector, it sometimes works. Coaches form their squads and players translate their roles. I don’t know if that was conscious. This can also work in a specific context. Mostly when things are already going well. But this does not last.

Now your career is over. A decision you can live with?

Subotic: Yes, I had an amazing career. I could still give some teams something to do, but that also takes time. I don’t have that. I can’t play football and run the organization when I’m 40. I like to educate myself. He wants to build something that will be more valuable in the future than something that becomes less important every year. It’s also a relief. In the last stops it was frustrating for me, especially in terms of my health.

track it football resident?

Subotic: Now and later. But I don’t watch the whole match, only the highlights, I just want to see the goals. I’m not interested in football per se, but I’m happy with my former teammates. I see some like my younger brothers. I hope I gave them a little something about decision making and how they go about their careers.

But you’d rather watch an episode of Southpark instead UEFA Champions League Final?

Subotic: yes. This does not catch me. I know this is very confusing. I know that sports can drive people crazy, too. My father is the prime example. He just watches or plays sports. When I call it that, tennis or the second league sounds like Italy. I’m very upset that a lot of this is irrelevant. My father is from Yugoslavia. He was always very proud of the Yugoslav athletes and then his son hit the big stage. But when I see how much is lost as a result, I do not even dare to deal with it in more detail.

After the recent victory over Bayern Munich, Eredivisie professionals Neven Subotic (left) and Antonio da Silva embraced the DFB Cup. Photo: Kay Netfield dpa

They do it without much and that’s normal for professional footballers, they live in a smaller apartment and don’t own one car. Do you also see this as a concession?

Subotic: It’s not like I love ice cream and every day I walk by the ice cream parlor I love it, damn it! I am happier. I have two drawers with electronics and such. There are four closets in my wardrobe and everything is there. This is very useful. I prefer to

But don’t you sometimes think: Oh, I’m going to deal with that now?

Subotic: Yes, of course. It does not matter if it is for me or as a gift to others: if someone uses something every day, it must be of high quality. Then the benefit is just huge. A computer for example. If it’s broken, I’ll have one over the top the same day.

But the luxury items?

Subotic: number

For a person: Neven Subotic won two championships as a defender with Borussia Dortmund. Ten years ago, he founded the “Neven Subotic Foundation”, which is committed to providing drinking water in East Africa. His book “Everything” was published by Kiwi and costs 22 euros.

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