Like other areas, sport is also developing in Azerbaijan. Our athletes represent the country well in international arenas and raise our tricolor flag. Our country is shown as a good example to other countries in terms of good organization of large-scale sporting events. Baku has successfully hosted the First European Games, the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, the UEFA Europa League final, European and world championships. Baku has also been successfully hosting Formula-1 races and will host games of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship. Azerbaijani football clubs play well in the European cups, as well. All this has become possible thanks to the successful sport policy pursued in the country. Azerbaijani athletes shine with good performance in foreign countries like in Azerbaijan. One of such athletes is a fellow of Spanish football, Rufat Abilov, whose last club was Gibraltar United. AZERTAC met with Rufat Abilov for an interview, which is presented below.
– Can you please introduce yourself to Azerbaijani sport lovers.
– I am 21 years old. I enjoy playing football. I started playing professional football in Spain. My first professional club was La Nucia. I played in that team in 2014-2015. I think La Nucia was a successful start in my career. Like in any sport, perseverance stands at the roots of any success in football. I also understand it and train myself. I aim to gain new successes.
– How did you become interested in football?
– I became interested in football from my childhood. I always liked playing with a ball. After moving to Spain, this interest grew into love for this sport. This love made me play football more seriously. When I was a child, I always watched big football tournaments. My interest in this sport grew even more when I saw perfect performance of great football players. In general, my father had a big role in my playing football. He always supports me and encourages me to new successes.
– What are the advantages of playing in Spain, which is the European football giant?
– Football is a collective sport. Passes are important in Spanish football. If someone is registered to play football in any club in Spain, he is explained that a victory can only be achieved through joint struggle. In all, executing the tasks set by the coaches and showing discipline in training are the main indicators in any sport. I have always attached importance to these factors in my clubs and have always attracted attention of coaches. I think that starting career in Spain, which is one of the five top football nations in Europe, has helped me a lot in terms of gaining good experience and skills.
– How do you assess the chances of your last club Gibraltar United to become the champions?
– The club has implemented a very successful transfer policy for the new season and attracted very good players. Gibraltar United has always competed for the medals. Gibraltar United can become the champions if they play well. The coaches are also good specialists. I can say that Gibraltar United is capable of contesting the leadership of the championship in the new season.
– Can you please tell us about your most memorable game and which team you would like to play for?
– My most interesting game was this year in the semifinals of the Gibraltar Cup. It was a very hard game. The pressure from both teams could be felt until the end of the game. But at the end, we won. Our team played well to deserve the win and we were the happy side.
– If the Azerbaijan national team invite you, are you ready to consider it?
– Certainly, it would be a great pride for me. Each player dreams of playing in his national team. It is my long-time dream to play in the Azerbaijan national team. I wish I could also make a contribution to the development of football in the country. I am looking forward to receiving this invitation. I want to make our fans happy by playing under the Azerbaijani flag. I will do my best to represent my country well. I think that I am ready for it. I believe that I will gain new successes with our national team.
– How can Azerbaijani football be seen when you look outside the country?
– Qarabağ football club playing in the Azerbaijan Premier League is quite well known in Europe. I should admit that many in Spain follow the successes of this club. In this season, Qarabağ will play against Spanish club Sevilla in the Europa League group stage. Several years ago, Qarabağ also competed in the Champions League group stage. All this is a vivid example of the successful sport policy pursued in Azerbaijan. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has always been with athletes and encourages them to new successes. The achievements made open up opportunities for recognition of Azerbaijan as a country of sports in the world.
– Do you follow Azerbaijani football, and which is your favorite club?
– I always follow the results of Azerbaijani clubs. I regularlywatch the games of Qarabağ and Neftchi. If you ask me about my favorite Azerbaijani club, it is Qarabağ. Because this club from Aghdam mostly play in a technical and fast way like in Europe and is well known on the international arena.
– Rufat, what can you say about your future plans?
– I have received offers from several clubs and I am currently reviewing them. There is a club from Spain’s Segunda B and clubs from Azerbaijan and Ukraine. I want to make a final decision soon. I want to feel comfortable and free in my new club. It is not so easy to go to a new club. I have to think well and make a decision.
Rufat Abilov started his professional carrier in Spain’s Club de Futbol La Nucia in 2014 and signed a contract with Benidorm in 2015. He moved to another Spanish club Calpe in 2017 and joined Gibraltar United one year later. The midfielder made five assists in the Gibraltar Premier Division last season.