Román Golobart is an Espanyol graduate and was quickly snapped up by Wigan. He has since played in England, Scotland and Germany, playing at the highest level and garnering a reputation as a touch-tackling, all-action central defender.
He is now back in Spain, and is fighting for promotion to the second tier with Real Murcia. At just 25, he has a long career ahead of him.
And so, in an exclusive interview, I talked to Román Golobart to find out more.
When did you make the decision to pursue football and what motivated you to do so?
I never realised I took a decision, since a very young age I knew that would be my life so I took it for granted that I was going to become a footballer.
The motivation was nothing other than enjoying it a lot!
What were your initial thoughts when you were at Espanyol and Wigan became interested in you, and what motivated you to move to England?
Both moments were very satisfactory. I went to a summer camp that Espanyol organizes and after it I got a letter from the club. I was excited, willing to do it – I was nervous, but the kind of nervous that one gets when you know you have a nice challenge ahead.
With Wigan it was a call, but still a very similar reaction. The thing with Wigan was that even though I was bad in English class, I knew I would end up going to England to play football so I didn’t bother paying attention as I knew I would learn it there. And so it happened.
Did you find it difficult to adapt to the style of play in England?
The English style is definitely not hard to learn, in fact it might be the simplest one. It can be frustrating at times as football in Spain is considered a much more complex art.
What was hard in England was the pace and the physicality of the game, but those were my traits already so I can not say I suffered adapting at all.
What motivated you to move to Germany and sign for 1. FC Köln, and how would you describe your experience there?
I moved to FC Köln after a weird year at Wigan where I made my EPL debut and also was the third player most featured in the FA Cup, but we got relegated.
Roberto Martínez was leaving the club and although the intentions of the people at the club was to maintain the same philosophy, I had my doubts that it would be like that, I was still seen as a prospect and I thought the club needed to consider me differently.
FC Köln had a one-year-oldproject going on, since they got relegated where they changed all their staff and nearly make it back to 1. Bundesliga, and they were interested in me being one of the main players in the team. That attracted me a lot.
My German experience was not the best. The trainer had another mentality of football than the one they had signed me and a few other players for. I failed to adapt to that and soon experienced a bad situation for anyone – I was shown the door, or to say it better, I was shown the window.
Needless to say, FC Köln is to me one of the biggest clubs in Germany, I don’t care about whatever someone else has to say. Because you know who makes a club big? It’s fans, it’s the city. And it doesn’t get much better then Köln. Much love to them for how they have treated me during my period there and after.
You then returned to Racing Ferrol in 2015 – how did it feel to be back in Spain and do you think your experiences in other countries helped in making you a better footballer?
My return to Spain was to north Spain. Racing de Ferrol is one of those clubs everyone in Spain knows. I was happy to get the opportunity to play for such a club.
At the end, being abroad gives you a lot of perspective to examine what we have here and I think I have benefited a lot from it. I’ve also been at the top, in 1. Bundesliga and the Premier League and I have gathered a lot of experience.
You’re now playing for Real Murcia – how different is it from Racing Ferrol and do you intent to stay here?
Real Murcia reminds me a lot of FC Köln, we have a fantastic fan base that even though we are in the third tier they still show by the thousands. Last weekend we had 12.000 people showing up here.
And it’s a club that has seen better days that the ones we are in now. But it also has a very young ambitious project to return to the second division which is king of in terms of seasons in it. And in that way pay the debt of the club and become a big competitor to go up in the 1st division.
Real Murcia are very close to the promotion playoffs – do you think the team can make it to La Segunda?
We’ve had a rough start of the season but always kept in the fight for the playoffs. Now, four games to the end of the season we could end in playoffs and then play promotion to second division with other 15 teams of the other groups.
So mathematically it’s a tough one, but we have a great group of both older and experienced players who have been in great academies as Madrid, Barcelona, Villarreal, Espanyol.
And young players with enough experience in the league and also a lot of ambition to make ourselves a name in the football world. So the mix in experience and the work is there, now we just have to make it happen.
One of the criticisms that fans seem to have is that you concede too many yellow cards – do you think that this is part of your game, since Spanish football referees do seem to give out yellow cards more often than in other countries?
I don’t mind getting yellow cards, cards come for three reasons – bad defending, bad referring or for a necessary fault. As long as I get it for the last 2 reasons, I’m fine. But its not always the case, so obviously there is room for improvement.
What do you do in your free time?
During my loan at Inverness I started playing guitar. I had play the bass before but I couldn’t really get motivated, but being in Scotland and the live music in bars and after a couple of years in England where guitar music is so rich I got seduced by it.
Other hobbies include other sports like tennis or hiking. Reading and doing yoga are also activities that I find fulfilling.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to enjoy football everyday of my life from 10 am to 11.30. As long as I do that, the rest will come on its own. And if not, I’ll take it of the hands of fate.
A huge thanks to Román Golobart for taking the time to do this!
This interview is reproduced from the Hinchas y Jugadores project. You can read it here.