With his mesmeric footwork and flashy skills, defender Victor Mongil has thrilled onlookers and pundits alike in his footballing stints so far. The expertise he possesses and the skills he flaunts forge the cords that bind the defense, and it is undeniable that Victor has been augmented on the field by precise artistry.
For Victor, football has always held a prominent role in his life. A product of the Real Valladolid youth system, the new fan favorite of Kerala Blasters has the experience of playing for a number of Spanish sides such as Real Valladolid, Atlético de Madrid B, and Alcoyano.
The 30-year-old first plied his trade in India with ATK in 2020 under spanish coach Antonio Habas. Victor paired up with Tiri to form the heart of the ATK defense and played a vital role in lifting the title. He turned out to be a standout player, serving as the trump card for ATK's silverware with 48 crucial clearances and 11 interceptions, establishing himself as one of the league's best defenders.
He then joined Odisha FC last season. Despite the fact that the team did not make it to the playoffs, the centre-back enjoyed a great season with the Kalinga Warriors. This paved the way for his dream move to Kochi ahead of the Hero ISL 2022-23 season. His figures narrate chivalrous tales of his on-field performance. Victor Mongil has played 28 Hero ISL matches in two stints, with an impressive passing accuracy of 80.78 percent.
In a recent exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Mongil discussed his stint in ISL, his impressions of his Indian teammates, and the Indian football landscape.
Excerpts from interview with Victor Mongil
Question: You’ve had a long stint in India in your career. Please share your views on the time you have spent in India so far.
Mongil: For me, going back to India is coming home, they have always treated me like at home, the people, the country, and the teammates I have been on, make me want to stay here. I really like the football landscape in India, and you can see how popular the game has become in recent years.
Question: So, generally what do you feel about the footballing landscape here in India? And how do you expect league culture to grow in the future years?
Victor: Soccer is already growing a lot in the country, and the local players are acquiring better discipline and experience, which gives the good results that the national team has and I only hope and hope that it continues in this ascending line of growth and that there are very successful generations in the country for this to happen.
Question: Did you get any offers from any other team before signing for Kerala Blasters? How did the deal with Kerala Blasters materialize?
Victor: Yes, I had more offers, collectively we didn't manage to be in the playoffs with Odisha, but individually it was a very good year for me. I needed to do a ythis like this in the country and show that I still have a lot of football to offer here. The signing with Kerala was simple, when they contacted me and I was able to talk in depth with Karolis and Ivan [Vukomanovic], the decision was clear to me and that is why I am here.
Question: What are your thoughts on the Indian players in your team, in terms of quality? Do you think the players have good potential to be a part of leagues abroad?
Victor: One of the key successes of the previous season was that the Indian players from Kerala also showed that much more talent can still be squeezed out here, and that we can all be an important part of achieving this goal since in the long term it would be a great success for club and country.
More and more rumors and possibilities are beginning to emerge for players to go to other leagues abroad, and if this path continues, we will soon be able to see talents in other leagues.
Question: You spent most of your time in Spain playing for major clubs and leagues before moving to India. What are the differences in football style that you've felt and seen here?
Victor: Every year there is less difference, what I do realize is perhaps in the tactical aspect and mentality. In Europe, you work a lot tactically, technically, and be mentally strong since the demand is total because the most prestigious competitions are demanding, and you have or want to be prepared so that the players who are chosen to play those competitions are prepared.
Question: What are your thoughts on your coach, Ivan Vukomanovic? How well is he in directing the team & mood in the pre-season camp?
Victor: I think that with his style and way of leading the team, he has made everyone totally believe in him and have that faith in him. The most important thing for a coach or technical staff is to make a team believe in the methodology, work and style. of the coach and he has achieved it. He is a coach who was a footballer who understands the player in every aspect that happens and that is also important. I'm glad you want me to be here to help achieve goals.
Question: What are your main takeaways from the previous season? How significant was last year's comeback for you? How do you intend to further develop your game?
Victor: Last year it was a bit of getting the squad and club excited again that something nice could be achieved for the club, they tried until the end, the records of the club's bad season improved, and it was really a shame not to be able to qualify for the playoffs.
I expected my return when I became champion with ATK, there were many fronts to continue in India, but the pandemic and the new challenges meant that I could not return, but I always had the hope of returning and when that happened, I said yes. I only hope to be able to offer the team and club who I am, to my maximum performance and that with that and the help of everyone we can achieve beautiful things.
Question: How’s your pre-season preparation going? Any personal objectives or targets you’d like to achieve with KBFC this season?
Victor: I think the fans are aware of how we have been preparing everything, having so much time off for me is important to enjoy and disconnect but without forgetting that I want to be better every day and it requires sacrifice and effort, so based on that I want to be prepared for the year you have and it will be important.
It would be wonderful to be able to win my second title in ISL, but if on top of that we can add that it is with Kerala Blasters, with the amount of fans that the club has, and being able to make history with the club, it is all the incentive that any player needs to really be here.
Question: What do you think about Kerala being a football-loving state? Is this finally going to be the KBFC’s season. What is your message to the fans?
Victor: I knew and was aware of the people who help and support the team and club so much, but you have to be inside and be part of this incredible club to see the magnitude of it, it's something incredible. Kerala is working to get very close to this brilliant goal, anything can happen in football, but the important thing is to be prepared and close to that goal and I think Kerala Blasters are at that moment for sure.
I ask the fans that in this year of returning to the stadiums, help us, be with us in every game because we are going to fight and fight to give them the great joy they deserve.