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6 questions with Mirko Ivanovski

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Ivanovski (R) playing for Macedonia; photo: ap.orgIvanovski (R) playing for Macedonia; photo: ap.orgLast week, we caught up with Mirko Ivanovski to get the latest on his club situation with Astra and how close he came to joining Spanish club Real Valladolid during the past winter transfer window, among other things.

Mirko Ivanovski was born in October of 1989 in the city of Bitola.  He began training with that club as a 7 year old, which came after his school friend invited him to attend football trainings.  After Pelister, Ivanovski played with another Macedonian club in Makedonija Gjorche Petrov before he began his international career in early 2010.

At that time, following a trial, Czech side Slavia Praha decided to bring in Mirko Ivanovski.  He scored 3 league goals in ten league appearances during his time there, before Mirko then signed with Arka Gdynia from Poland in the summer of 2010.  Ivanovski lasted two years in Poland, which saw one year in top division and one year in the second division, and then moved to Romania with his current club Astra.

Ivanovski had a good first season with Astra during the 2012-13 season, and also started brightly in the 2013-14 campaign as well, but then started to see less playing time near the end of the first half of the season.  The lack of minutes has also carried into the second half as Ivanovski has been mostly on the bench over the past couple of months.

Mirko has become a regular member of the Macedonian national team, amassing 21 appearances in the past three years.  He has scored 1 goal in those caps which came in a 1:0 victory against Andorra in a EURO 2012 qualifier.

Since there hasn't been much news about Ivanovski's situation at Astra, we decided to reach out to him to get his side of the story.  Additionally, we also talked to Mirko about how close he came to joining Real Valladolid during the past winter transfer window, among other things.

Below is our question and answer session with Mirko Ivanovski:

MF: Mirko, tell us more about the start of your career.  When did you begin training with your hometown club Pelister?  Also, do you have a coach or coaches that you would like to credit from your time in Bitola?
MI: Well, the start of my career was when I was around 7 years old and in 3rd grade.  At the time, my friend from school invited me to start football training (he already had began).  I did not know what to do at that time and then talked with my dad to tell him that I wanted to begin regular trainings.  My first coach was Sasho Ilievski who is still a coach/coordinator at this time.  He first witnessed my qualities and told me to continue training and to never give it up because I could succeed in the game.  Now, when it comes to the coach that helped me the most and where I experienced the most success while at Pelister, it would have to be Laze Gastarov.  He had me training with the first team when I was 16 years old and I also received my first scholarship contract.

MF: We have seen you play as a winger and center forward in attack.  What position do you think best suits you and why?
MI: Yes, I can play multiple positions, but for a long time I featured as an attacking minded winger.  However, once I made a transfer to Slavia Praha in the Czech Republic earlier in my career, the club's manager told me that he only wanted me at CF and nowhere else.  But, even today I still play at times as a winger along with CF.  Both positions suit me and where I play depends on the given game.

MF: What do you see as your biggest strength and what things do you need to work on in order to improve as a player?
MI: I see my biggest strengths being the speed and strength that I possess, but of course there are still many other things that I need to work on.  For instance, I have to work further on my finishing when I find myself in front of the goal.  That is something I work on every training which is also the case with almost all strikers.

MF: Some of our readers have inquired about your current situation with club team Astra.  What can you tell us about that?
MI: The situation at Astra is very complicated at the moment.  I have one more year on my contract until 2015, and of course I'm looking at ways to terminate the contract or make a transfer this summer, something that wasn't allowed to me this past winter by the club.  I had 4-5 offers this winter, but Astra did not accept any of them.  When I received a chance during the first half of the season, I used it to the max as I scored 7 goals and had 1 assist in 10 games.  Afterwards, in the 11 games that followed, I was replaced by the manager who gave me no reason for the move.  From those moments to now, I have received few chances as a starter.  Instead, my only playing time has been seldomly off the bench.  I'm hopeful that this summer we will find common ground with Astra management, and that I will leave to a club where I want to go.

MF: How close did you come to signing with Real Valladolid during the past winter transfer window?
MI: The transfer to Real Valladolis was close.  About 15 minutes before the end of the winter transfer window, I was in contact with the people and managers of Real Valladolid who told me that since they will sell their best CF, they will reach an agreement with me to be one of the replacements.  All of that happened as they said, they sold their top CF, then contacted me and we agreed to personal terms.  My part of the contract was accepted, the two clubs (Real Valladolid and Astra) agreed everything, and what was left was for the whole thing to be closed so I can be registered as a player of Real Valladolid.  However, about 15 minutes before the end of the transfer window, the Spanish federation stopped the transfer because the written agreement was not fully completed.  In other words, the transfer couldn't be realized because the official contract was needed in both Spanish and English, but there was no time for that.

MF: Lastly, you have become a regular selection on the Macedonian squad.  What is your best memory from the time you have worn the Macedonian jersey?
MI: Best memory?  The first, and what proved to be game winning, goal for the Macedonian national team against Andorra in Skopje when we won 1:0.  I represented Macedonia from when I was 15 years old, then served as captain of the U17 team, later played for the U19 and U21 youth national teams, and now I'm in the senior squad.

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