The signing of classy Serbian midfielder Marko Perovic was one of the few bright spots in a tough season for South China. A hero at Red Star Belgrade, where he launched his career, Perovic went on to play for Swiss champions FC Basel and faced the mighty Barcelona, including a certain Messi, in the UEFA Champions league (twice!).
Perovic also spent time in the United States, donning the shirt of the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer. During his time in Boston, he became a fan favourite, to the extent that he was voted most valuable player in 2010 for his passionate performances. Perovic’s life and sporting journey have also taken him to Malaysia, Iran and most recently Hong Kong. He plays for the love of the game and in an exclusive interview, Perovic reflected on the past six months with South China.
“When I first came to Hong Kong, everyone just talked about the city, but I did not come to Hong Kong as a tourist, I came to play football. Overall I was happy with my experience at South China. Hong Kong is a city-based league, so you have all the games on three or four different pitches. Everyone adapts fast and if a player trains well and is talented then he can excel at the game.”
Perovic also discussed his time with South China and the reputation they had overseas.
“Before I joined South China, I had heard many nice things about the club and when I had the opportunity to move to Hong Kong, I was happy to join such a great team. To be honest, when I arrived, it was not exactly what I heard before coming from Europe. But I told myself ‘It doesn’t matter’. I have come here and have a job to do. Good or bad news didn’t really affect me. I just focused on doing my best. I now finished my contract and have some time to consider my next step.”
Perovic also discussed the state of the league and emphasized its competitiveness, despite the small size. In fact, for him, most teams were on par with each other.
“I respect all teams in Hong Kong. Some are bigger and some are smaller, but if you look at the Premier League it is not easy. All the games are difficult. It’s not like you can go on the pitch, play for ninety minutes and beat another club easily 5-0. It’s not even easy to score five goals in training.”
When asked about the best moment he experienced last season, Perovic pointed out the seven goal thriller with Eastern. Despite South China losing 4-3 to their fierce rivals, Perovic stressed that it had all the elements of what top level professional football should have.
“It was a truly ‘professional’ experience. The atmosphere was great, there was a big crowd and fans saw a lot of goals. Of course we lost in the end, but I will never forget this game. I also scored a goal. I think it was one of the best games in the Premier League last season. There were some games when teams like Kitchee won by 10 goals, but this is not good for the league. The 4-3 match had plenty of chances, goals, and tackles. That’s all you want.”