Samir Handanović - Slovenia's Ambassador at the Expo
Ljubljana, 13 May - Sport, especially football as its most popular form, is an extraordinary way of promoting individual countries, which is why it made a lot of sense for us to pick Samir Handanović, penalty killer and member of Inter's Milan, as Expo ambassador and the promoter of the I feel Slovenia.Green.Active.Healthy slogan.
The 30-year-old, whose career started at Slovan Ljubljana, has been playing for teams from the Apennine Peninsula for the past eleven years. Handanović made a name for himself - a name that is now craved by the giants of European football - with excellent performances in the Seria A and for the Slovenia national team where he has made 75 appearances so far.
After being declared the best goalkeeper in Italy in 2012, he changed Udine, just off the Slovenian border, for the stylish environment of Milan in a transfer worth EUR 11m. We are convinced that "Sarma", as he known among friends, will also be one the main topics of the "Mercata" and other football markets in Europe next year when his contract with Inter expires.
Interview with Samir Handanović about the Expo
Why would you recommend a visit to the world show in Milan?
"The first reason I would list is the proximity of the Expo, since it is only 350 kilometres from the Slovenian border. Thus, Slovenians do not need to travel across the world to taste the diverse cuisine which is among the topics of this year's Expo."
Which Slovenian things do you miss the most in Italy?
"Peace and quiet. And also that the sea or the Alps are only an hour's drive away from Ljubljana. Slovenia only has a population of two million, which is one of the reasons why there are no major traffic jams. There are no other things that I would miss, since I can also find everything I have in Slovenia in Italy."
What do your team-mates think about Slovenia?
"To be honest, I don't think they know much about Slovenia. They don't even know where it is. Thus, the Expo is an opportunity for them to also get to know Slovenia. Not only for them, also for others, especially the foreigners in Italy who are unfamiliar with our country as well."
What do Italians value in Slovenia?
"They value good food. I remember that when I was still playing in Udine, many Italians went to Slovenia for the food. They are also very fond of Slovenia's spas and health resorts."