Asif Burhan speaks to Dutch star Lieke Martens
Asif Burhan, who began blogging for Kick It Out during the 2012 UEFA European Championships, provides readers with a look at the social and cultural impact of football nationally and globally.
Asif has travelled to over 75 cities around the world watching more than 100 games. His trips have been entirely self-funded and unsupported, a personal odyssey to experience as many different footballing cultures as possible.
Asif spoke to Netherlands star Lieke Martens, after she was voted the best player in Europe.
Asif: Lieke Martens of FC Barcelona, a European Champion and now voted the best player in Europe. If I’d said any of those things to you three months ago, could you have dared to believe it could be true?
Lieke: No, it’s still unbelievable for me. I really enjoy every moment. If you said that before, like three months ago, I wouldn’t believe you, I shouldn’t believe you and now it’s real. I’m living the dream.
Asif: Less than three weeks since the tournament finished does it still feel like a dream or have you had time to process it and are you ready to move on with the new season?
Lieke: It was already a big honour to be nominated, Pernille Harder and Marozsan are both really good players and they have also achieved also a lot in their career so far, so it’s a big honour to win this trophy.
Asif: We saw pictures of you training with Barcelona for the first time. You first moved abroad when you were 18 and you’re now settling into your fourth different country, what’s the most difficult things when you go to a new country?
Lieke: The most difficult thing is the language. I now speak four languages so Spanish will be the fifth, and I’m going to do my best to learn the language as quickly as possible.
Asif: In England, it was big news when Toni Duggan moved to Barcelona. Do you know her from before, have you had a chance to meet her and do you understand her English?
Lieke: She and I are talking so much to each other. We are staying in the same hotel at the moment and we share some moments with each other. She’s a really nice girl.
Asif: I wanted to ask you about Pernille Harder, you talked so well about her, what do you think about her as a player?
Lieke: She’s an amazing player and she had a great tournament. I also know her from Linköping when I played in Sweden and I’ve always seen her as one of the best players in the world. It’s a big honour that I’ve won this trophy but the other two are also really good. She will probably win it one time.