Dejan Kulusevski has been a revelation for Tottenham Hotspur since he signed from Juventus on loan with a purchase option one year ago. These days it’s not uncommon to hear Gimme, gimme, gimme a ginger from Sweden echoing from Spurs fans in the stands. He’s been outstanding, scoring six goals and adding 13 assists in 2022.
Turns out it’s not just Spurs fans who are happy with him. Today, the club announced that Kulusevski has won the Guldbollen, or prize for best male footballer in Sweden. This is basically the Ballon D’Or of Swedish football.
Dejan Kulusevski has been awarded the 2022 Guldbollen, the prize for Sweden’s best male player— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 29, 2022
Like the Ballon d’Or, the Guldbollen is awarded by a Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet. In an interview with that same publication (£), Kulusevski talked about how happy he is at Tottenham and how easy it was to be willing to accept a move from Juventus to North London. The article is entirely in Swedish; many thanks to Dan from The Extra Inch Discord server for translating the relevant passages.
You say you got your life back when you went to Tottenham. How would you describe the moment when you were on the plane?
“I was nervous. Really scared. It was a new league, Premier League, where everything goes much faster and everyone is much stronger. I didn’t have enough playing time at Juve and I wasn’t sure what I’d arrive to.
“Thankfully I arrived at a club that knew who I was. I got a manager [Antonio Conte] who had wanted me a few years earlier. A Director of Football [Fabio Paratici] that had bought me to Juventus. They knew what I could do. I will always be thankful to them, especially the first month they helped me a lot.
“After that I’ve been flying. Instead of doubting when I play I know now what I’m doing is the right thing. I am really enjoying playing football.”
Not many people thought you would have such a large impact.
“I didn’t think much about it, I was mostly nervous. Then not even I thought that things would go as well as they have. I was just happy and thankful to have arrived at such a great club. There’s no other team in the world I would want to be in right now.”
It hasn’t been a perfect season. Deki missed the entire month of October with a thigh injury, and wasn’t able to play in the World Cup after Sweden missed out on qualification. But he’s endeared himself not only to Antonio Conte, but to Spurs fans and the entire nation of Sweden. He’s proven to be the fulcrum of attack on a Tottenham side that has struggled at times to create chances. He’s also incredibly happy in London and is reaping the rewards of an excellent 2022.
Long may that continue!