Hi, I’m Gabriel Dimitrov and you’re listening to “First Tempo”! Hi, I’m Gabriel Dimitrov and you’re listening to “First Tempo”! Hi! You are again with our podcast “First Tempo”! The Italian league is a common haven for Bulgarian players, but the case of our guest is a bit more different. He was born in Ruse and comparatively early departed to Italy and continued his career in The Apennines. After a serious and tough work this year he is going to be a teammate in Monza of the Bulgarian national team captain Viktor Yosifov. Ladies and gentlemen, Gabriel Dimitrov. In first place I would like to thank you for accepting the invitation to be a guest in the podcast of Volleyball Explained – First Tempo. First to ask – how are you, are you ready for the new season? I’m fine, in good shape and I’m preparing for the season. If we start from the very beginning, you’ve grown up in Ruse, you are pretty young when you departed for Italy. How has the connection been made, which team liked you and what was your development path from then on? I started when I was very young, I was 13 years old, still in Bulgaria, seven-eight months later I departed for Italy, where I met my manager, he made a video on me and quickly we had an interest from Lube Banca Civitanova. In December I went there for one week on a trial basis, but they liked me and I stayed there for the whole season. That’s how my career in Italy started. This happened before appr. five years, if I am not mistaken? That’s right: 2013-2014. How did your transfer to Monza become a fact? You play there at the moment , in the first team. After Civitanova I was in Perugia for one season, after that I attended some matches and I met the director here Claudio Bonatti. He liked me – he saw that I’m a tall guy, young, and took for U16, U18. I have been here for three years – I have been for two years in the U16, U18 team, in Serie B, in Bulgaria I believe that it is Second division. – I think that it is named so in Bulgaria.
– Yes, the High League. And this year they’ve decided to call me into the first team of Monza. Actually, did you start playing as middle blocker there, did you choose the position or the position chose you? In the beginning my coach in Bulgaria Sasho Todorov prepared me for an outside hitter. The problem was that I am not a friend of the reception. We don’t play together. And from the very beginning in Civitanova they moved me to the middle blocker position. That means – who can’t receive becomes a middle blocker. 🙂 Yes, there are some jokes on this if you have read them. How did you get to be called in the first team, you are still very young, and by the way under the radar of the Bulgarian volleyball community. It seems that it doesn’t know you, so I hope that this interview will be such a possibility. How did you make it, when did you understand that this is going to happen? A gradual work. Always when I’m in Italy or in Bulgaria – only trainings, trainings, trainings, before I realised my dream to be in the first team. They liked still in the middle of the previous year, when I was in Serie B. They had an interest, but it wasn’t for sure. When I was back to Bulgaria, I woke up – they called me, while I was having my breakfast and they told me that I am accepted in the first team of Monza. You play in the same position as Viktor Yosifov, who is the captain of our national team and also part of Monza. Does he help you in any way with advice? He helps me, he is very friendly, we talk, he gives me advice, tells me how to do this or that. We talk, we are communicating. What are your goals for the next season since you’ll have very tough competition – Viktor, Thomas Beretta who was an Italian international for a long time, Galassi too. I am still behind from the guys and this year I would like to “steal” everything that I can – how to be a player in Serie A, how to play, everything I could take from them will be positive. I’ll make all efforts possible to take from them everything I can. As you said to take from them, I would like to ask you since you’ve trained in Bulgaria, you’re training in Italy, where do you find the difference in the methodics not only from technical point of view, but from tactical and physical condition point of view. Could you compare the training process in both countries? In Italy we run more, we don’t jump that much, that means we make more exercises, we do not play as in a game. Until last year – here in the first team it’s different. In Bulgaria it’s more about playing matches during training. For example I have a problem with the “bagger” (forearm pass) – my coach Sasho Todorov gathers all players and make two-three exercises in which they pass or spike the ball and I train my “bagger” all the time, until I do it as it should be. You have a problem with setting – he makes exercises, in which you set, set, set, until you do it in the right way. In the morning we work on acrobatics at the city stadium, in the afternoon we work in the hall where we insist on our negative sides. Let’s just explain to the listeners of the channel – the “bagger” is the forearm pass, right? – Yes, that’s right.
– One more specific question. I noticed that according to the website of the Italian league – legavolley, your sporting nationality is Italian, in comparison to the nationality by passport, let’s say it in this way. Have you been called up in the Italian youth teams and for which country do you intent to play on men’s level in case you are called up. They had an interest last year, before two years, but now you need to be 10 years in Italy and I don’t have them. Before I could just apply for an Italian passport and play for them, but it’s not that way anymore. The dream for everyone is to play for his/her country, so I would play for Bulgaria, but, of course, if Italy proposes me I wouldn’t refuse to them. I can’t refuse to either team as a whole. Actually have you been contacted by someone from Bulgarian side until now? From the relevant youth teams? Yes, they contacted me and my coach, but I was not able to accept, because I would have lost everything as an Italian. I couldn’t have played in the lower divisions. A last question. Which team do you dream to play for? Honestly, I don’t have a team I dream for, but the team I follow is Civitanova. So I can say – Civitanova. I wish you to play there one day. Thank you for being a guest in First Tempo and Volleyball Explained. And I hope, no I’m sure that you are going to achieve your goals. – Thank you too and wish you all the best.
– Thank you. And you, dear listeners or spectators of the channel, feel free to subscribe, listen or watch us the next time too, not only the series “First Tempo”, but also the other series and hear you soon.
– Hear you soon!