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Dejan Stanković: It started with futsal

The UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 ambassador and Serbian football legend gives the inside track on host city Belgrade and how the indoor game helped shape his career.

Dejan Stanković, the tournament ambassador
Dejan Stanković, the tournament ambassador ©Srdjan Stevanovic

"When I'm away, I miss everything about Belgrade: the atmosphere, the great people and the lifestyle. After almost 20 years spent overseas, I enjoy every day I get to spend in my native city, and whenever I'm back I have a long list of places I want to visit. It's a city that's open to everyone and has a very special and unique sense of humour.

"Hosting UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 will be fantastic for Belgrade and a glorious moment in our history. Serbia has already held European and world championships in a lot of sports, but never in futsal, which has long been very popular. During the 1970s, lots of leading footballers ended their careers in futsal and the stands were always full. I'm expecting a huge number of supporters at the Belgrade Arena, which is a superb and modern venue that both players and fans will enjoy.

"When I look back at my own football career, I can honestly say it started with futsal, though at the time it was simply street football or football in the school playground. I've also been lucky enough to come up against leading futsal players in Serbia and Italy, and they are truly football masters – grandmasters, even. If you want to be a great futsal player, you have to know how to use the ball in a confined space sometimes the size of a coin. The action is often amazing and tends to produce brilliant goals.

"Organising this tournament means a lot for the image of our country and our city, and I expect that all our guests will have a great time. We have a unique chance to accommodate them and invite everyone to visit Belgrade and Serbia. Welcome – and enjoy!"

To read this article in full, download your free copy of the UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 final tournament programme here. 

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