Armenia duo Henrik Mkhitaryan and Roman Berezovski spoke to UEFA.com to express their admiration for Sargis Hovsepyan after the defender recently won the last of his 131 caps.
“This is a brave new era for Armenia as the national team grapples with life after Sargis Hovsepyan, the side’s captain and ever-present figurehead who called time on his professional career aged 39 last month,” UEFA writes.
Modest and unassuming,Armenia’s most-capped player made 131 appearances for his country. His final outing came in September’s 1-0 loss to Bulgaria in FIFA World Cup qualifying, and he was typically understated about his career as he stepped away from the limelight. “I don’t think I’m a legend,” he said. “I simply did my job.”
After making his debut in Armenia’s first international against Moldova in 1992, and establishing himself among the favorites at FC Pyunik and FC Zenit St Petersburg, the central defender was a key figure in some of the national team’s proudest moments.
“There were periods when no one believed in our national team,” goalkeeper Roman Berezovski told UEFA.com, having first played alongside Hovsepyan for Armenia in 1996. “People believe in us now and have great expectations. Everyone has high expectations.”
Those raised expectations are a testament to Hovsepyan’s career, influence and legacy, and Henrik Mkhitaryan holds his retired skipper in similarly high regard. For the exciting young FC Shakhtar Donetsk schemer, Hovsepyan remains nothing short of Armenia’s “eternal leader”.
The full interviews can be watched on UEFA’s official website.