Odysseas Vlachodimos: “Talent is nothing without hard work”
5 December 2021
Odysseas Vlachodimos has been playing for Benfica Lisbon since 2018 and has finally arrived in Portugal. We talked to him about his new home, the Greek national team, the goalkeeper position and his goalkeeper gloves.
In the Portuguese Primeira Liga, you have only one defeat this round and your team is currently in third place in the table. What is your concept for success?
Our concept of success…at Benfica you always want to win, you go into every game wanting to win and you train hard every day. Then we try to implement that on the weekends and also during the week.
” I think the most important thing is to be healthy and injury-free, then everything else is secondary..”
Soon 2021 will be over and you start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. What are your wishes/goals for 2022?
I hope that the fans still can go tot he games. Personally, I do not plan far into the future, I like to look from day to day. My goal is just to get better every day. I think the most important thing is to be healthy and injury-free, then everything else is secondary.
You have been in goal for Benefica Lisbon since 2018. Is there a striking thing about the Portuguese mentality that you particularly appreciate or consider “typical”?
The people here are pretty crazy about soccer. In almost every game, no matter against which opponent you play, the stadium is full. The people are also very helpful, nice and very open off the soccer field, which I really appreciate. I feel very, very comfortable here. On the soccer field and also off the soccer field.
“I am proud to play for Greek and when you sing the national anthem before the games, it is always something special.”
Do you speak Portuguese? If so, can you say something in Portuguese?
Hola, buon dia – good day, good morning. I understand quite a bit. You understand the “soccer language“ after so many years in Portugal. Every now and then I try to order in Portuguese in a restaurant. Of course there are always a few mistakes, but I can express myself.
Your roots are in Greece. What makes your home country so special?
The sun, beach, nice weather I would say. Greece is a very good place to spend your vacations.
What does it mean to you to play for the Greek national team and represent your country on an international level?
Of course, it is always nice and special to play for your home country or your country. I am proud to play for Greek and when you sing the national anthem before the games, it is always something special.
How did you come to the goalkeeper position? Did you have a role model?
It started early. My brother always wanted to shoot, I am the younger one. Then I had to go in goal and since then I have never really left the goal. My role model is Edwin van der Sar.
” If you have talent, you should not rest on it but work hard every day to improve.”
What do you like most about being a goalkeeper?
I have never known anything else (laughs). It is a special position. As a goalkeeper, you are the last one in the back, and I also think it is just cool to be a goalkeeper. Generally the training and also in the games the goalkeeper position is different from the other positions. But as I said, I do not know anything else and I would not want to switch. I love being a goalkeeper.
You have made it and turned your hobby into a profession. What advice would you give to young keepers who want to emulate you?
First of all, do well in school. If you have a goal in mind, you should pursue it. If you have talent, you should not rest on it but work hard every day to improve. You can always learn something new. If you have a dream, you should pursue it.
Looking back on your life so far, what are you most grateful for?
The best thing was becoming a dad. I enjoy every second when I am at home and can be with my family and my little daughter. In soccer, of course, it was always a big goal to play in the Champions League, and I managed to do that with Benfica. That was a highlight and a great feeling when you hear the Champions League anthem. I will never forget that.
“I put the most value on grip.”
What do you look for in goalkeeper gloves?
I put the most value on grip. With a goalkeeper’s glove, of course, it also depends on the fit, how the glove is cut and how the glove feels when you wear it.
You play the Absolutgrip. Why is this the perfect glove for you? What makes it so special?
I think the grip is outstanding. I really like the new closure system. You put the glove on and feel comfortable right away. You do not have to fiddle around with it or tighten any fasteners for the whole game. The goalkeeper glove fits perfectly in the hand and the grip is very good even in wet weather.