Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the cover star of this month’s Inside United after providing an exclusive insight into his rise from Yerevan in Armenia to Old Trafford.
The 28-year-old can be impossible to stop when he motors forward in possession of the ball and there was no way he was going to be halted in his dream to reach the top in football, either.
The interview focuses on five key factors behind the evolution of any player – background, talent, personality, experience and ambition – and his honest answers suggest he was never going to be knocked off course when attempting to realise his dream.
As a 13-year-old, he spent time in Brazil with Sao Paulo to hone his skills and take another step along the path to footballing fame. There were those who doubted his ability to achieve such lofty aspirations but the desire to prove them wrong burned bright in the youngster. “I can say that most people did not believe in me,” he told Inside United. “They were just laughing and thinking that what I used to say was crazy and I would not reach this level.”
While others laughed, Mkhitaryan cried as a child when told “football would not exist for me anymore,” but he would have the last laugh, securing a move to United from Borussia Dortmund last summer. “I had a dream to play for one of the best football clubs in the world. And that is what I am doing now.”
It is difficult to quickly sum up the midfielder’s character. He is, at the same time, serious and focused while maintaining an easy charm and relaxed outlook. He has a sharp sense of humour and follows some of his answers up with a hearty laugh or cheeky grin.
Yet there is an underlying steely determination to Henrikh Mkhitaryan which may be understandable as someone who has overcome adversity and setbacks to reach the top. He also explains how he is a different character on the field to the one sitting and chatting.