Antonio Rukavina: “Astana has a good level of performers, which allows to play and win regardless of conditions”
The transfer of the Serbian defender Antonio Rukavina to the camp of FC Astana last summer can be called an acquisition with the status of “cool”. The player who had previously confronted Messi and Ronaldo in the Spanish Championship went to Kazakhstan straight from Russia, where he played in the World Cup as part of his national team. FC Astana received an excellent wing-back, able not only to destroy the attacks of opponents, but also very useful in creative terms.
13 November, 2018
In an interview with the Republican Internet portal Sports.kz, the defender of FC Astana Antonio Rukavina spoke about the past season and shared expectations of the upcoming matches in the Europa League against Ukrainian FC Dynamo and the French FC Rennes.
- Antonio, can you call the outgoing season successful for Astana?
- Of course, it was a great season. We won the championship. As far as I know, this is the fifth championship of FC Astana in Kazakhstan, I am glad to be part of this club. This is my first trophy in Kazakhstan, I am happy.
- Was it difficult to put yourself in mood for the final matches?
- In some matches we played without tournament motivation. But the team again showed that it has the mettle of winners, proved that we are the best team in this league.
- How do you like Kazakhstan Championship as a whole?
- Difficult. Especially – away matches. At home, yes, we have an excellent field, a stadium, but on the road there are always problems with the fields. Plus, opponents resist very much.
- What is the peculiarity of Kazakhstan Championship?
- There are certain problems with the fields, stadiums. However, I believe that FC Astana has a good level of performers, which allows to play and win regardless of conditions.
- What do you expect from the match with Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League?
- Very important match. Before the match with the team from the Czech Republic, we said that if we won, then we would go 90% in the playoffs. Now we need only one or three points. We will have to concentrate all our attention on the remaining two matches. I hope we are on the right path and will be able to advance from the group.
- Do you know any of Dynamo Kyiv players?
- I know the guy from Slovenia, Benjamin Verbić, and also the Croatian midfielder Josip Pivaric. Dynamo is a good team with a great history. We are expecting a difficult match. We must do everything to achieve a positive result.
- When you moved to FC Astana, the team was looking for its playing style in connection with changes in the Coaching Staff. What helped to get on the victorious rails further?
- It is only a matter of time. In the summer a lot of new players came, and they needed time. And now we see that we practically managed to fulfill all the goals we have set. Only the advancing from the group in the Europa League remains unresolved. And next year... Who knows, maybe it will be possible to play in the UEFA Champions League.