Q and A with Ivan Franjic


Just over two years ago, Ivan Franjic was playing part-time football in the Victorian Premier League while completing his carpentry apprenticeship in his hometown of Melbourne.

Just over two years ago, Ivan Franjic was playing part-time football in the Victorian Premier League while completing his carpentry apprenticeship in his hometown of Melbourne.

Now, the 24-year-old a crucial cog in Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou-s line-up and is regarded as one of the best wide players in the country.

Here, Franjic talks about playing in the AFC Champions League, his beloved Dinamo Zagreb and his best hair tips.

Brisbaneroar.com.au caught up with Franjic after training on Thursday morning to ask your chosen questions from Facebook and Twitter.

1. Was there ever a time you didn-t think you-d make it as a professional footballer?

Yeah, as I was getting older and working in carpentry, I kept getting a lot of injuries and I just thought it wasn-t meant to be. My last club before Brisbane was Oakleigh Cannons, before that I was with Melbourne Knights. Before joining Oakleigh, I thought about quitting soccer to focus on carpentry and building but told myself ‘one more year-. Luckily in the end, I got the opportunity with Brisbane when I got spotted through an agent in the Victorian Premier League. He came to a few of our games and watched, set me up with a trial and I haven-t looked back since. As you get older sometimes you think it-s just not meant to be and I wanted to start looking elsewhere. Lucky for me, I decided to have that extra year.

2. Against Melbourne Victory on New Year’s Eve, you played a more attacking role in the 3-4-3 formation and excelled. Do you prefer that position?

I definitely prefer playing more attacking. I used to be a midfielder until about six or seven years ago. It-s easier because there are less defensive duties and a bit less running. I was still playing as a wing-back but with a bit less defensive responsibilities. I didn-t switch position by choice, I tore my ligaments when I was younger and when I came back into the senior team, my coach put me as right-back and I did pretty well in my first game and I stayed there ever since. Playing a bit more attacking, you start a bit more up the field and it-s easier to get a chance on goal. In terms of a goal tally, I want to beat last year-s and get at least three this year but as long as we-re winning games, that-s the main thing.

3. How much are you looking forward to playing in the AFC Champions League? Which country are you most looking forward to going to?

Asia will be a new experience and I-m definitely looking forward to it. I-ve been overseas but never to Asia before so it-s exciting. I-m probably looking forward to going to Tokyo the most, probably because of Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, I saw some cool things in the movie. I watched FC Tokyo in the cup final but that-s it, I don-t really know too much about the other teams and I don-t watch too much of the Asian leagues. The coaching staff will show us some footage and will probably give us some videos to take home so I-ll definitely watch it and do my research and study my opponents. The Champions League is a whole different ball game though, they-ll be changing players and formations and things around to work with their schedule. It-s definitely exciting, I-ve never played outside Australia – except for New Zealand of course!

4. If you could get an offer from any football club in the world, who would it be and why?

This one is the easiest question – definitely Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia. It-s always been my dream club, all my idols when I growing up were there. [Zvonimir] Boban was my biggest idol growing up. Everyone was always saying Manchester United or Real Madrid but for me, it-s always been Dinamo. I still follow them, it-s hard to watch the games because there-s not a lot of coverage of the league over here but I always follow the results.

5. What songs or music do you listen to when you-re getting ready for a game?

I listen to a bit of Eminem, mainly rap, and a bit of dance just to get my adrenaline pumping. Also, I-ve got a few motivational songs in my playlist but I won-t say which ones they are! Okay, okay, Fort Minor – Remember the Name. I-ve got a few different playlists, it just depends what I feel like listening to before the game.

6. Is there a special meal you ask your mum to cook for you when you go home to Melbourne?

Not so much my mum, but my grandma – she makes me sarma, which is meat wrapped in cabbage. Every time I go back to play in Melbourne, my grandma makes it for me and she even makes enough so I can take some back to Brisbane with me. I don-t even have to ask, she just always makes it. My mum is a great cook, everything she makes, I enjoy eating. I don-t get to cook much up here, I can cook but not as good as my mum. When they come up, they still cook and clean for me so I-ve got it good.

7. We had lots of questions about your hair. Any particular reason for the mohawk and how do you rate Besart-s in comparison? Any hair tips?

I thought this year I-d do something different with my hair. I went to the hairdressers and looked at a few photos and with the hair I-ve got, that was the best choice at the time. I-ll probably do something new soon or maybe leave it for the whole year but you-ve got to be careful with what you do. I definitely won-t get that yellow streak like Berisha. I had it before he came and I think he liked it so he copied me but said he-d get the yellow so it looks a bit different. Mine-s better for sure – if you took the yellow out, his would be good but with that yellow… I reckon it-s time for a change. My main hair tip would be to use hairspray once you-ve done your hair with wax. It stays stronger, that-s why mine doesn-t move in the rain. To be honest, I only do my hair when I come out of the shower and it only takes me about two or three minutes. I-m not like some of the boys in the changing room that need ten or fifteen minutes to do their hairstyle. I-m not going to name names but some boys need a ridiculous amount of time to do their hair and it still doesn-t look good.

8. What do you see yourself doing once your playing career is over?

Well, I-ve done my carpentry apprenticeship and my dad is a builder so I might go into a building business. If not, I-ve also done my personal training course and could open up my own business and become a personal trainer. I definitely want to get into coaching down the track but it all depends on what happens and what situation you-re in once you finish your career. I guess it will be best to assess it then. I-d love to get into coaching and have my own clinics on the side. I-ve got plenty to fall back on which is good.