Exclusive Interview: Lorenzo Gordinho

James Rowe for The Secret Footballer

JR ''Hi Lorenzo, thanks for talking to me at TSF today.  Let's go back to the beginning of your football journey."

LG  ''My journey started when I was six years old.  I think that was the first time that I was taken down to the local football team where I grew up and from then on my parents knew that I had the talent to become a professional footballer.  But it was not up until the age of 13 that I realized I had the passion for it.  I realized that this is what I love doing and becoming a professional footballer is something I want to do one day.  Having already made such a decision to pursue football as a career, it only became more evident and concrete that this is what I want to do and what I wanted to become as I grew older''.

JR  ''You were born in Benoni, just outside Johannesburg in South Africa, who would have been your footballing heroes growing up?"

LG  ''I think at the time when I started off playing I was a bit too young to understand the whole idolization and the idea of a role model, but in my teenage years I watched a lot of football and I used to love watching John Terry and Nemanja Vidic in the Premier League.  I also watched Fabio Cannavaro, who was one of my favourites.  As time goes on and the game progresses, your idols change based on how the game changes.  To that end, my favourite defender is Sergio Ramos because I believe that he is the complete defender in the sense that he is good both on and off the ball.  He is a leader, the total defender".

JR  ''Coming through the youth set up at Kaiser Chiefs, arguably South Africa's most famous club, you must have very fond memories, particularly when you made your first team debut?''

LG '' Yes, I think it was a great time.  I spent a few years in the academy and then I got promoted to the first team.  So I came up through the ranks at Kaiser Chiefs and the highlight for me was playing in my first derby against Orlando Pirates.  I still remember that game like it was yesterday because it was my first.  All the good memories I have at the club, scoring goals, winning games and being appreciated by the fans and supporters, are still with me.  The club was like a family to me because in total I was there for ten years.  For me to do that and give something back and show how much I appreciate their support was to do well on the pitch.  Kaiser Chiefs made me who I am, they helped me to grow, and they gave me the platform to establish myself within football''.

JR  ''I'm glad you mentioned the derby.  The whole world knows about River Plate v Boca Juniors, Real Madrid v FC Barcelona, Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan v AC Milan.  Give us a little bit of insight into South Africa's biggest club game?

LG  ''I just think that you have to savour the game because everything around you is happening so quickly.  There are a lot of supporters.  The atmosphere, noise and music.  Your whole heart leading up to the game is thumping. I really enjoyed just trying to keep calm and savouring that game because it goes by so quickly.  Everything that is going on off the pitch is crazy and it is best not to let that overpower the game.  For me it was just savouring that feeling of being on the pitch in that atmosphere.  Kaiser Chiefs v Orlando Pirates is in the top ten derbies of the world in terms of attendance with 90,000 people, but a lot of people do not know the magnitude of that game outside of South Africa''.

JR  ''Things must at least be a little calmer at your current club, Danish side, Viborg FF. How has your first year been?''

LG  ''I am enjoying my time at Viborg FF a lot.  Since I arrived here it has been very easy for me to adapt both on and off the pitch.  Viborg FF have helped me to settle and the club as a whole is like a family.  They have lots of good values and morals both on and off the pitch.  I just think that it is a club where you are appreciated, if you treat others with respect you will be given respect.  Obviously there are expectations for all the players to do their work, but we are treated like ultimate professionals and we are given the platforms to do that.  We have great coaches in the backroom staff who consist of so many different people helping us on and off the pitch in order to get the best out of us. It has been good so far''.

JR  ''As a centre half are there any notable differences between marking strikers in Africa and Europe?''

LG  ''I think being South African a lot of players that I have had to defend against are skillful and quick players.  I think of Percy Tau who currently plays for Brighton & Hove Albion in England.  I played against him and also with him for the South African national team.  He is definitely one of my toughest opponents, he is smart, skillful, quick and technically good and he also had a successful loan spell at RS Anderlecht in Belgium. 

Also Kermit Erasmus who currently plays for Mamelodi Sundowns F.C in South Africa is a typical South African striker, he is quick, fast, strong and skillful.  Those two players stand out for me because they are very different to Danish strikers I have faced so far''.

JR  ''Thanks for talking to me today Lorenzo.  Finally, who are the people that have played a key role in your development?

LG  ''I have been fortunate to play under so many good coaches and managers in my career that I do not want to name them all, if I were to miss one I would not feel good about it!  All of the coaches and managers that I have encountered have each helped me to add or take away something from my game to make me a better player.  I have played my best under all the coaches and managers I have worked with but they have all helped me to mature and grow as a footballer, a leader and as a person, and they have all played their part in that".


James Rowe is a Dutch Football expert based in the Netherlands, professional writer and translator for The Secret Footballer. He has featured on talkSPORT and regularly features on talkSPORT 2 and Love Sport Radio. You can follow him on Twitter here.