This interview has been reproduced from lfcinrussia.com submitted by Eziz Allamov
Vyacheslav Malafeev is a goalkeeper who plays for Zenit St. Petersburg and Russian national team. He answered several questions about his ex-teammate Martin Skrtel.
[I] = the interviewer; [VM] = Vyacheslav Malafeev.
[I] How easy was it to find a common language with Martin on the training ground?
[VM] Very easy. He is a professional and knows exactly what needs to be done on the football pitch! You can it not only during a match, but also during training sessions. This attitude makes him a top-class defender.
[I] How long did it take him to learn Russian?
[VM] I think it took him a week or two to be able to communicate with the rest of the team in Russian since it is similar to his native language [Slovakian].
[I] Is his character different on the pitch from the one off the pitch?
[VM] Yes. On the pitch he is hard – but not aggressive, whereas off the pitch he is a very modest and kind person.
[I] Do you remember your first meeting with Martin?
[VM] Yes, it was at Udelnyy Park [Zenit’s training ground]. Just as usual – first I spotted him in the hall – and then he was introduced to the team by the gaffer before a training session.
[I] Have you managed to talk to him during Euro-2012 Qualifiers?
[VM] Yes – just a little bit, exchanged a few words.
[I] Who were his best friends at Zenit?
[VM] Kamil Kamil Čontofalský and Radek Šírl. I think it’s because they were from former Czecho-Slovakia.
[I] What was team’s reaction when they heard that Liverpool FC were interested to sign Martin?
[VM] We were all delighted for him since it constituted a big step forwards in the career. And also, Zenit was a different team at that time [not as successful as it is now].
[I] Can you recall the funniest moment, related to Martin, during his time at Zenit?
[VM] No, not really. Not only because it was a long time ago, but also because he used to make fun of others rather than vice versa.
[I] Do you still keep in touch with Martin after his move to England?
[VM] Unfortunately, no. But I always watch his games when I have time.