Five minutes with: Melbourne City defender Ivan Franjic

Melbourne City right-back Ivan Franjic shares his handyman skills with The World Game, describes the Tim Cahill phenomenon at the club and reveals his admiration for 'one of the most beautiful women in the world', Eva Mendes.

Ivan Franjic

Ivan Franjic in action for Melbourne City Source: Getty Images

TWG: You worked as a carpenter before you became a professional footballer. Does it feel good to have those carpentry skills in your back pocket?

IF: Definitely. I'm the third generation in a family of carpenters and it's a good trade to know. My dad is a builder/carpenter, so I was pretty much following in his footsteps at the time. His dad was a carpenter as well.

TWG: Did you find you were a natural at it?

IF: I picked it up pretty quickly at a young age. If I was on school holidays and if I didn't behave, dad used to punish me by taking me to work with him. There were always little bits and pieces for me to do.

TWG: Are you still handy now? If you had to knock together a few cupboards at home could you do it?

IF: I'm more about doing frames of houses and that sort of thing - the bigger jobs - but if I had to, I could put together a cupboard. If someone in the family was building a house I could definitely help, I don't think you ever lose those sort of skills.

TWG: It would have been exasperating for you at the time of the unpaid wages drama at Torpedo Moscow, but are you still glad you tried your luck overseas?

IF: Oh, definitely. Obviously things didn't go to plan and I went there straight after an operation and I probably wasn't in the best condition myself. But in life everything happens for a reason and playing overseas was an experience I enjoyed. Moscow is an unbelievable city and I had a great time there.

TWG: Are you hoping to again go overseas to play. Is that still an ambition?

IF: You always have that desire to play at the top level, but now I'm very happy at Melbourne City. They're an unbelievable club and it's only going to get better here.

TWG: Particularly as someone who is a good friend of his, how would you describe the Tim Cahill phenomenon now that he is playing in the A-League?

IF: I think Tim coming to the A-League has been fantastic - everyone in Australia recognises him. He's a huge idol to people who aren't even big fans of football. He's definitely having a big effect and I think a lot of people are now following the game because of him.

TWG: You were born in Melbourne and the Franjic family is still based there, do you really feel at home back in Melbourne?

IF: Yeah, for sure. It's very special playing for a Melbourne club and to finally get the chance to win trophies with one.

TWG: What is the average wider Franjic family attendance at a City home game?

IF: I think probably around 30. I get a couple of free tickets, but mostly I've encouraged a lot of the members of my family to take out club membership.

TWG: You would be very popular with the management of the club then, wouldn't you?

IF: (Laughs) I'm sure.

TWG: Where in the world, that you haven't been yet, would you like to go?

IF: Probably Ibiza. I've heard amazing things about the place from a lot of people.

TWG: Who would you like to meet that you've never met?

IF: Probably Eva Mendes. I reckon she's one of the most beautiful women in the world.

TWG: I'm gathering you're not married!

IF: No, I'm not.

TWG: Are you a fan of her acting ability as well?

IF: Yeah, she's definitely a very good actress, especially in The Fast And The Furious series.

TWG: What's the dumbest advice anyone has ever given you?

IF: The advice I've received about football and life has generally been very good. My family has always been very supportive of me and sometimes when you haven't played the best game, and you don't want to hear about it, they will be up front with you and I think that's important. Most of the advice and encouragement I've received has been about working hard and following your dreams.

TWG: Finally, the Franjic family at Christmas: does everyone buy presents for everyone or do you use the Kris Kringle method?

IF: It used to be everyone buying for everyone, but now we've gone to Kris Kringle. The Franjic family is a big one - I've got 14 first cousins for a start!

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3 min read
Published 15 December 2016 at 11:18am
By Greg Prichard