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Matic, Paartalu, Damjanovic and Joel Griffiths, the China Interview Part II

What is your impression of China? Can you use chop sticks? Do you speak Chinese?

For too long the foreign football player in China has been subject to the same questions from interviewers and we at Wild East Football intend to remedy this situation by asking four players the questions that you the readers need to know the answers to most!

Last year, Leandro Netto, Ryan Griffiths, Rostyn Griffiths and Ibán Cuadrado gave some great responses in ‘s first ‘China Interview’ which you can check out here.

Joining us this time round, Croatian Darko Matić, 33 of Beijing Guoan who enters his seventh season in China. Joining Matic are Australian’s Erik Paartalu, 27 of Tianjin Teda and the recently departed Joel Griffiths, 34 formerly of Qingdao Jonoon, Shanghai Shenhua and the 2009 Chinese Super League winning Beijing Guoan side. Last but by no means least is Jiangsu Sainty’s newest recruit Dejan Damjanović, 32 who faced Guangzhou Evergrande, Beijing Guoan and his new employers in AFC Champions League encounters with F.C. Seoul.

Who in your side has the greatest banter?

Tianjin Teda's current banter king, Baré

Tianjin Teda’s current banter king, Baré

Erik Paartalu: Best banter Bare, big Brazilian forward is nothing short of ADD and always up to something, great laugh!
Darko Matic: Would have a few of them but I would say Lang Zheng.
Dejan Damjanovic: Until now only foreigners are joking and making the atmosphere good, I’ll let you know when the Chinese players join us.

How many puns do you think will be made in the Chinese press with the name Vagner Love in 2014?

Joel Griffiths: What a name, surely he made that up, journo’s must go mental!
Erik Paartalu: Great name, at least 500.
Darko Matic: We should be proud having such a good player and a big name in the CSL so we should talk more about his football than other things.

Would you rather have a night on the town with Lippi or Sven?

Joel Griffiths: Sven.
Erik Paartalu: Sven! The guy is a smooth criminal Ha-ha!
Darko Matic: Difficult question, but my answer would be both together, why? Two successful coaches with a lot to tell.
Dejan Damjanovic: I must say both of them, I think we would have a nice night out ha-ha.

Give me your best Chinese phrase

Erik Paartalu: 服务员,2瓶水,谢谢, waiter two iced water please, thanks!
Darko Matic: 己所不欲勿施于人, Respect yourself and others will respect you (Confucius).
Dejan Damjanovic [Korean allowed]: 빨리 빨리(Pali Pali) means ‘faster faster’, everything needed to be fast in Korea!
Joel Griffiths: SB! (Writer unwilling to translate).

If you could take one thing from China that would work well or you would like back home, what would it be?

Joel Griffiths: The air…. ha-ha. And KTV.
Erik Paartalu: Scooter for sure.
Dejan Damjanovic: Chinese acupuncture because it helps a lot medically.

Would you hire David Beckham to be your personal ambassador?

Joel Griffiths: If he is cheap!
Erik Paartalu: If I had a gazillion dollars.
Darko Matic: I would hire Beckham because I like his style and heard he is a very good person.
Dejan Damjanovic: No no I don’t need that, ha ha!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a wanted man in China

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a wanted man in China

Transfer speculation Please link the first name you think of with a billion RMB move to the CSL (Please note these links are 100% untrue)

Joel Griffiths: Dario Conca.
Erik Paartalu: Lionel Messi Ha-ha.
Darko Matic and Dejan Damjanovic: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

What is the largest amount of people you have seen on a two-wheeled vehicle in China?

Joel Griffiths: I think me and Ryan saw a family of six, incredible! I think the dog was on the back!
Erik Paartalu: I’ve been on a scooter with two guys from the team. But yeah fortunate enough to only see a 4 person scooter.
Darko Matic: I huge amount that I couldn’t count so quickly but it was in a small Croatian city!
Dejan Damjanovic: I’ve seen 7-8 people in a car already, it was unbelievable ha-ha.

In one word explain China

Joel Griffiths: Vibrant.
Erik Paartalu: Testing.
Darko Matic: Tradition.
Dejan Damjanovic: Awesome.

If you could change one thing about Chinese football what would it be?

Joel Griffiths: Stamp out play acting, heavy fines and suspensions for players pretending to be hit or injured. It just looks bad on TV, for me it’s another form of cheating and I see it in nearly every game.
Erik Paartalu: Politics run through every team but this will never be changed, but from a football point of view, players mentality and work rate.
Darko Matic: I would change the time-wasting because when some teams are winning they waste so much time on things you need 3 seconds for.
Dejan Damjanovic: Mentality, I really think it needs to change as soon as possible!

Beijing-based Peter Davis has followed Chinese football since 2008 and is a regular contributor to Wild East Football. He can be found on Twitter and Weibo at @peteydavis

Pete is from Sheffield, England and came to China in 2008 initially living in Shenyang where he witnessed his first CSL game, Liaoning Whowin v Chengdu Blades. Pete is a fanatic Sheffield Wednesday fan but has picked up football allegiances from various trips, Galatasary in Turkey, Piacenza in Italy and Muangthong United in Thailand. In early 2009 he moved to Beijing and after a brief time started attending Guoan games regularly.

Pete graduated in Journalism in the UK and has written for several educational publications on Chinese education for his day job as well as Chinese football for WEF which he wishes was more developed but avidly follows the Imperial Guards on their quest for CSL supremacy regardless.

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