By Vera Martirosyan/Vera&Football
Khoren Hovhannisyan, the legendary player of FC Ararat Yerevan (Armenia) and the ex-USSR national football squad, is the guest of our program entitled “Outside the Pitch.”
As reported earlier, a friendly match devoted to the 60th birth anniversary of Hovhannisyan will be played in Armenia’s capital city Yerevan on March 28, and between the ex-USSR and world stars’ teams.
And below is an abridged version of our talk with the legendary Armenian footballer.
Mr. Hovhannisyan, why was it decided to hold a friendly match between the [ex-]USSR and world [stars’] teams?
Initially, we thought that it will be between the [ex-]USSR and Armenia [national] squad. However, the process of preparation delayed a lot, and in the end we decided that it would be better this way; such a thing has never been held.
The makeup of the [ex-]USSR team was determined quite easily, whereas younger footballers, who have not played with you, are playing in the world [stars’] team. How was it achieved to interest [the likes of] Gattuso, Boban, [and] Stoichkov?
They are the friends of my friends. We wanted to invite many other [football] stars [to this friendly], but it was not convenient for many [of them], since there are other events on those days.
[And the] eternal question in football: Who is the King of Football? Pelé, or Maradona?
You can’t compare them. Pelé was the king, but Maradona is not inferior to him. Today, it is also possible to put Messi among them. For me, these three are the best football players in history.
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You can watch above the video of the entire interview (in Armenian) with Khoren Hovhannisyan.
To note, football legends Gennaro Gattuso, Marco Materazzi, Hristo Stoichkov, Zvonimir Boban, Jari Litmanen, Jean-Pierre Papin, Vincent Candela, Aldair, Patrick Berger, Faustino Asprilla, Dario Šimić, Mário Jardel, Edílson, and Serginho will be playing in the world stars’ team during the aforesaid friendly devoted to the 60th birth anniversary of Hovhannisyan.
Photos by Paruir Siniavsky/NEWS.am