He may be representing Slovakia at the FIFA World Cup but England, rather than South Africa, is goalkeeper Ján Mucha's ultimate destination this summer.
Mucha, the Legia Warszawa No1, will join Everton on a three-year contract at the end of the season before heading to Rustenburg, Mangaung/Bloemfontein and Johannesburg for his country's World Cup debut. Whenever that journey ends, the final stop on Mucha's close-season itinerary will be the north-west English city of Liverpool.
"I had many other offers but when I heard 'Everton', I felt 'this is it'," the 27-year-old told UEFA.com of his impending move to the Premier League. "I could have gone to Turkey – there were two big bids. If I'd gone, I would have been a millionaire because the money they offered was staggering. But I would never have forgiven myself if I had not tried England; if I'd rejected an offer from the Premier League.
"Listen, I wasn't born in England, Italy or Spain where a player has many possibilities. I am from Slovakia, I am playing in Poland and it is not so easy to catch the eye of big clubs. I had to double my efforts but it has paid off."
Mucha's decision to go to Everton on a free transfer was clinched by his midwinter visit to the Goodison Park outfit. "When they showed me the training facilities I was shocked. There are about 20 training pitches, all in perfect condition. This is a football world I always dreamed about," said the shot-stopper, who started Slovakia's last six World Cup qualifiers. "I spent just a few days in the city, but I already like it."
Mucha even likes his future neighbours on Merseyside, given that his international team-mate, defender Martin Škrtel, plays for Liverpool FC. "I already have a good friend in Škrtel. We know each other from the national team and Martin showed me the city. Thanks to him, I know where I want to live. He has a house near Fernando Torres and other Liverpool and Everton players, so my future neighbourhood is really interesting," continued Mucha, who is taking English classes. "I have a private teacher in a language school in Warsaw, and I have even started collecting Beatles CDs." Curiously, the player whose surname means 'fly' (the insect) in Slovakian, is also working towards his pilot's licence – "I am in the middle of my course," he confirmed.
England and South Africa may loom large in Mucha's thoughts, but Poland, where he is considered the Ekstraklasa's outstanding keeper, is the immediate priority. Having been an unused squad member during Legia's last championship-winning campaign of 2005/06, he would like nothing more than to help the currently second-placed team to this season's title.
"Legia have a place in my heart," said the former MŠK Žilina custodian. "I owe this club a lot. I have had a fantastic time and I want to repay them by lifting the title. I have one already as a reserve, when our goalkeeper was Łukasz Fabiański, now at Arsenal. I asked him about Everton and he said it is a great move. So I am going, but first I would like to give a title to Legia."
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