Manchester United and Armenian national team star Henrikh Mkhitaryan sat down for an interview with Armenian magazine “Armenian soldier”. The only difference from usual interviews is that the questions are not from a journalist but from soldiers who serve on the frontline.
Many years have past since the Armenian football’s greatest years, but younger generations still know and recognize some of the most renowned Armenian men in this sports, such as Hamlet Mkhitaryan (Henrikh’s father) and his four goals against Dinamo Moscow. Was your father the person who inspired you to become a football player? What kind of advice did he give you and what memories do you have associated to him.
I was born in a football family and I didn’t need a special inspiration to love the game and have willingness to become a professional football player. Everything happened unwittingly. I was 7 when my father passed away and all the memories about him are from those 7 years of my childhood. Unfortunately, my father didn’t manage to give me his professional advice, but I still remember that childish joy that I was living after his sincere words about my first steps in football.
You are the only Armenian player who reached the top of world football. What was the main driving force in your career? Talent, hard-working? Maybe the willingness to become popular?
I am sure that everyone is talented, though not everyone of them realized that talent that was given to them by God. That’s why not everyone chose the right profession to become successful. However, you cannot rely only on talent and be successful, you have to work hard, be persistent and never look back. If you do all of these, even the most unrealistic dreams can come true. You shouldn’t get frustrated after a failure and stop on the halfway.
Sometimes unexpected things happen in life, you face downs in your life and only strong will can help you not to stop on the halfway.
To be honest, I don’t understand why people give too much importance to failures and defeats. In reality victories are born from defeats, after realizing your mistakes and learning lessons from them, after moving forward without looking back. These qualities have a strong influence on driving you forward. I don’t really care what is my destiny, but I know what I really want. I am sure that no effort is useless.
In every corner of the world you are welcomed, respected, surrounded with love. On the other had, many people who left their country have secondary roles in their new neighborhoods. It’s natural that they always look back to their home country. The homeland is the only reference point for them. In your opinion, what is the role of homeland for a world-famous Armenian?
Neither the country nor the people decide your status in the society, you do it yourself. You can have a secondary role even in your country if you don’t fight, work hard, create something and try to find your place. I have the exactly opposite opinion. The Armenians are hard-working and talented nation and regardless of the country where they live they are always respected. Apart from this, there are many famous Armenians in the world who bring fame both to their home country and to the country where they currently reside. What about the importance of the country, it’s not defined by the person’s well-being. The homeland is an indispensable value and a reference point for all of us.
You are one of those sportsmen who likes to read, who knows foreign languages…
I am a football player, you are a journalist, another man is a baker… Everyone of us does a job which is based on his or her preferences. It’s our choice whether we are well-educated or not. It’s not the right way to judge on a person’s intellect based on his/her profession. Who said, that the baker doesn’t have to read books or know foreign languages? Every single profession is respectable and it doesn’t matter whether you are a journalist, sportsman, tailor, you always have to care about self-education. It’s about self-respect. What about myself, I have lived in different countries and knowledge of foreign languages was vital, and I learned them with great passion. I like to learn.
You said ordinary people… We are all ordinary… If I have success in football and you are successful in journalism, it doesn’t matter than in life we have any advantage over others in personal relationships. And this should be a general approach, no one has to feel himself/herself privileged, ordinary or special. Every person is unique and special. Everyone deserves respect.
Did the fame change anything in your life? Do you find time for those who need you by their side?
The fame cannot replace your beloved people. I find time for my relatives and friends with pleasure, it’s a gift that I make to myself. I need them more in my tight schedule, in the never stopping rhythm. In general, I value the love that a person has towards me. I always try not to let anyone down. Love is the most valuable and binding gift.
Do you have any unfulfilled dreams?
I always have some because when I fulfill a dream, another one is born at the same moment. I call them goals, since I am not a passive dreamer, you have to fulfill your dreams by yourself. The goals are the main driving force for a man. If not them, we wouldn’t be moving forward.
Which is your favorite goal in your career?
Of course, it’s the scorpion-kick goal that I scored last December. It was beautiful, delicate, accurate.
Who is your football idol?
Now I don’t have one. If your asked my who was my childhood idol, I would say Zinedine Zidane.
What are the smallest joys in your life?
The time that I spend with my family and friends. I took too much time away from them and dedicated it to football. To be more precise, I took it away from myself. It was a big sacrifice.
You were honored by a 1st degree order for “Service to the country”. What is it’s importance to you?
I am very proud of this honor. Everything I do is my life, my everyday routine. I never thought of receiving such an order. I am going my way and as an Armenian man it’s my obligation to make my country and my nation more popular.
You lifted the Armenian flag after winning the Europa League trophy. What did you want to say with this gesture?
I wanted to say that I am an Armenian and I am proud of it.
Manchester United started well in the Premier League this season. You provided 5 assists in the first 3 games. Reports suggested, that it is a record that wasn’t matched for 20 years.
To be honest, I don’t think that those 5 assists should excite me. There are still 34 games remaining. I have to do my best to score more goals and provide more assists. I enjoy my football and want to bring joy to the fans, too.
In the end of the interview, what is your message to the soldiers who are now on the frontline?
Of course, I have a message to them. I hope they are well, healthy, I wish they successfully complete their service and return home in high spirits.