From a small village with less than 500 inhabitants to a city with a leaning tower – Miha Trdan: “Sooner or later my moment will come too”
Photo: Pisa Sporting Club
Želimlje is a small village located near Pijava Gorica in the municipality of Škofljica. Perhaps most known among the Slovenians for having a gymnasium, it was established in April 1991 as the first private school in independent Slovenia by the Slovenian Salesians. Despite this, Želimlje is home to very few people – less than 500. And one more resident left the village because of… football! “I am living my dreams,” admits Miha Trdan, a teenager from Želimlje who moved from this small village to the much more glamorous Pisa two years ago. He didn’t go there to see the Leaning Tower. He went there because, while playing for Ilirija, he kicked the ball well enough to catch the attention of Pisa Sporting Club.
“It’s been around two years since I moved to Italy. I am really happy that I decided the way I did back then. The decision was easy at that moment; playing in Italy is something special. No, I don’t regret the decision I made,” said 18-year-old Miha Trdan at the beginning of the conversation for Planet nogomet.
Although Pisa has about 98,000 more people than Želimlje, our interviewee emphasized that he didn’t have any major difficulties adapting to the new environment. “I must admit that I never really found it difficult after moving to Pisa. I quickly adapted to the new environment, probably because I was really excited about every training, every time spent with teammates at the beginning. And suddenly, I felt at home. However, when you leave home, you are, of course, dependent on yourself. You carry much more responsibility on your shoulders, but – I repeat – I never had overly significant problems with that. I would say that I adapted quite well after the move,” explained Miha Trdan, who, on the Apennine Peninsula, initially played in the Under-17 league and is now proving himself in the Primavera, consistently knocking on the door of the first-team.
Miha Trdan: “In Italy, there is an incredible emphasis on tactics”
“I must admit that I am satisfied with my development so far. Nevertheless, I am aware that there is still a lot of work ahead, and I have plenty of room for improvement. I am certainly proud of the fact that I have been training with the senior team for a year and a half; that is, of course, something special. When will I make my debut? We’ll see! For now, I patiently wait for my moment,” said Miha Trdan with a smile, acknowledging that if he didn’t have trouble adapting to life in Pisa, adjusting to Italian football was a somewhat different story.
“Football here is on a completely different ‘level,’ if I can put it that way. Everything happens much faster. There is a great emphasis on strength, especially, Italians are ‘crazy’ about tactics. There is a massive emphasis on tactics in every sense. From where you should stand on the field at a particular moment to all the information regarding tactical positioning in defense and attack. The fact is that if you miss one hundredth of a second, it may already mean that you ‘screwed up’ the action, and a goal may be conceded because of it. In Italy, there is an incredible emphasis on tactics, really incredible, and a lot of work is done on executing throw-ins, corners, free kicks. All of this leads to the fact that football here is on a completely different level,” explained the midfielder born in 2005.
Given that Miha Trdan has been regularly training with the senior team for some time, it seems to be just a matter of time before he becomes the next Slovenian player to make an appearance in Serie B. “I don’t want to rush things, I don’t want to talk too much about my desires and goals. I live day by day, giving my all in every training and every match. What will follow, we’ll see. However, the senior debut is certainly present in my thoughts. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I believe that my moment is not far away. I have been in Pisa’s squad for a senior team match several times, and I was actually close to my debut, so… Sooner or later, my moment will come,” Miha Trdan expressed confidence, having recently signed a new contract with Pisa, undoubtedly indicating that the city with the leaning tower takes the young man from the small village close to the road to Kočevje seriously.
If Miha Trdan debuts in Pisa’s jersey this season, he will become the second Slovenian to appear in the blue and black shirt in the 2023/24 competitive year. “Since last summer, Jan Mlakar has also been here. I must admit that I spend some time with him. We get along well; he is a very good footballer and a very good person. When he came to Pisa, I helped him, of course, but he didn’t need much help. He quickly adapted,” explained Miha Trdan, who, like Jan Mlakar, is also a Slovenian representative.
The difference is, of course, that Jan Mlakar is a member of the impactful national team, which will participate in Euro 2024 in the summer, while Miha Trdan is currently proving himself in the youth national team, for which he has played six games so far.
“Even before that, I played for younger Slovenian selections, and currently, I am part of the team under 19, with which we face the decisive stage of qualification for the European Championship in March. If we are determined enough, sufficiently quality, and have a bit of luck, we can succeed,” expressed optimistic Miha Trdan ahead of matches against Spain, Austria, and Kosovo. He continued regarding his national team career: “Playing for Slovenia means the most to me. Even when I train in club gear, I always have the national team in mind. When it gets serious, I want to be 100% prepared. And that’s the mindset before every national team action.”
Proof that anything is possible in football
Regarding Jan Mlakar and other guys who secured Slovenia’s participation in the tournament in Germany, it doesn’t need much emphasis: “It’s hard to describe how happy I was when we succeeded… And then I have the honor to participate in training with a footballer who contributed to such success. Truly exceptional. I think all of us, the young ones, got an extra boost after the success in the qualifiers. We haven’t been to major competitions for a long time, and now we have received proof and confirmation that anything is possible in football. That’s why it’s worth working hard. And who knows, maybe we’ll be there someday….”
Regardless of what football brings him, Miha Trdan will always have some of the most loyal fans by his side. This is especially true for his father, says the young midfielder: “My father has always sacrificed a lot for all of us, for all three of his sons. He drove Peter, Gašper, and me to training every day, and without him, I undoubtedly wouldn’t have succeeded. My older brother Gašper also had a strong influence on me; I always wanted to follow in his footsteps,” explained Miha Trdan, who started playing football at the age of six. He initially trained with NK Brinje Grosuplje, a club near his hometown. Later, he went to Domžale with his brother. After his brother enrolled in Šiška Gymnasium, they both signed with Bravo. Even when his older brother joined Ilirija, the younger brother followed suit. Their common path ended only when Miha Trdan went to Pisa. Nearly 600 kilometers away from home. But with the same dreams as before: to succeed in the world of football.
This text was automatically translated using AI.