Apart from his footballing skills and crucial role on the Croatia national team at the World Cup this summer, Domagoj Vida has used his cleverness off the pitch to embark on a rather unusual business venture, reports 24 Sata on December 17, 2018.
In contrast to the multi-million dollar manicured football pitches Domagoj Vida uses as the base of his everyday job, the famous footballer is building an entirely new career in parallel – though it’s a bit muddier, and not in the glamorous cities of Paris, Moscow, or London. Namely, Domagoj Vida is opening a black Slavonian pig farm in his hometown of Donji Miholjac.
“I open the company on January 1st. One Zagreb company has made the entire program, I have people running the jobs, taking care of everything. It is focused on the indigenous black pig. So far I have 200, and I plan to have 500 of them next year. I have several restaurants that buy meat from me and know that it is fresh. It is a good business,” says Vida.
Vida’s offer of sausages, kulen and ‘kulen’s sister’, ham, čvarci and pork fat can be found on Facebook – and a few Austrians from Vienna are his regular customers!
When Vida completes his professional football career, he plans to return to his Miholjac.
“They say I’m crazy about coming back here to live because the situation is not great, but I hope that better days will come, not just for Slavonia, but for Croatia in general. My wife Ivana would love to live in Zagreb, but in the end, we will decide together.”
At the moment, Domagoj, Ivana, and their three-year-old son David are in Istanbul. You might remember the beautiful blue-eyed toddler running around the pitch after Croatia knocked England out in the semis.
“He and my wife give me strength. When we lost France, as soon as I saw him, I was better. Ivana and David have helped me overcome this defeat,” said the rather quiet and somewhat reserved Domagoj.
“I’m a man of the people, from a village, I do not like being in the newspapers, it’s not for me.”
Where has Vida stored his World Cup silver medal?
“It is in Miholjac, in the safe. I’m building a house, so I’ll make a special space for it where I’ll keep all the sports trophies, awards, jerseys… It would be like a small sports museum, a reminder once I finish my career.”
Vida started collecting jerseys several years ago and already has a rich collection, with some huge names.
“I traded jerseys with Iniesta at the 2016 Euro in Bordeaux. But I do not order jerseys. For example, I don’t tell Luka Modrić to bring me a jersey from Cristiano Ronaldo. I only collect them if I played against the team.”
But does he have a Ronaldo jersey?
“No. And I do not have any of France’s from the World Cup final. I did not want to exchange it. This is the jersey I played with, and I did not want to give it to anyone,” Domagoj said.
But one unique story we didn’t hear about the World Cup until now is the brilliant gesture of Lionel Messi to the Croatia national team.
“Messi sent us 30 jerseys through Rakitić with his signature. For the whole national team. He liked how much heart we had. He thought we played the best football at the World Cup. Well, now I have Messi too,” Vida added. The Argentinian sent the 30 jerseys after Croatia defeated Iceland and thus opened the possibility for Argentina to pass the group.
Vida said that he thinks about Croatia’s experience in Russia and the grand welcome on Croatian soil every day.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the welcome home, the madness in the streets… Seven hours we traveled from the airport to Ban Josip Jelačić Square. When will this be repeated? God, let it be repeated, but I doubt,” Vida said.
He was just one of Croatia’s heroes, the Croatian “Brave Heart”, as the fans called him. First to the pitch, and first to the party.
“I’m sorry about that, I’m from Miholjac, whoever loves me, loves me, and who does not like me, who cares! The song is part of me; I like to start and sing whenever there is a celebration, that’s in me. While I was a boy, I was singing on the street, whenever we’d come back from school, ten of us would sing in the house from boredom.”
Vida’s thoughts on Dalić?
“The coach is like our father. He likes to listen to our advice, and in the end, he is the leader and decides. The welcome reception back in Croatia was phenomenal. Even now when I am having a bad day, I watch the recordings, the goals, the games… I was dreaming. Although, it still seems unreal that we are second in the world.”
And even in a country like Turkey, with 80 million people, Croatia’s success can be felt.
“They look at me differently. And when our tennis players won the Davis Cup, even then it wasn’t clear to them. They wonder how we could achieve such results, with just four million of us. Nothing is clear to them.”
The qualifications for the European Championship in 2020 begin soon, though the team will be without Mario Mandžukić, Vedran Ćorluka, and Danijel Subašić.
“There are not even in the WhatsApp group, as we just made a new group for the upcoming qualifications. It’s a shame, I’m sorry. But we have new kids who are great,” said Vida.
Is Nikola Kalinic in the group?
“He’s not,” Domagoj added.
It is still not the end of the season in Turkey, which makes it hard to come back to Croatia. Although, the year was long, very long.
“I’m tired; I’m drained. I cannot wait to get home – my wife and the little one have already left.”
And the little three-year-old David is already showing interest in football, just like his grandfather and father.
“He worships Mandžukić and Modrić. There was chemistry between those three in Russia. He always asks for them. He is not shy; he plays with everyone.”
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Translated from 24 Sata