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EuroStars: Kamil Glik (Poland)

EuroStars: Kamil Glik (Poland)

Focus
Publish on 06/04 at 15:39 - G. BOXALL

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In our latest series focusing on the 2024 European Championships, we’ll focus on a player from each of the 24 countries participating (except for France). These legends have achieved success with their countries and in Ligue 1, and have helped to make the game in France what it is today: exciting, fast-paced and cosmopolitan.

In this latest edition of EuroStars we'll be focussing on Poland and AS Monaco legend Kamil Glik. He was a pillar in the Monégasque defence from 2016 to 2020, and was a huge part of ASM's Ligue 1-winning campaign in the 2016-2017 season and a part of Poland's international campaigns at Euro 2016, 2018 World Cup, Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.

"I'm from a small mining town, Jastrzebie Zdroj, and I lived in a pretty poor district," said Glik in an interview with UEFA. "We all spent most of our time playing football outdoors and dreaming of making a living from it. I wanted to start off playing in our Ekstraklasa – that was my dream. However, I have supported Bayern München since my childhood; the player I really liked was Lúcio."

As a small boy Glik had a serious heart condition which threatened to stop his dream of playing football right in its tracks. With his family doctor saying the chances of survival were low, it toughened up a young Glik. "Did that toughen me up? For sure, yes.  Adversity strengthens us humans, mentally."

"For two seasons I was a goalkeeper, but that was more by accident; when I was in the youth teams, the goalkeeper broke his arm and as I was one of the tallest, they put me in goal. I liked it at first, but then slowly the coaches talked me out of it."

WATCH: The Best Of Kamil Glik at AS Monaco

 

From Torino to Monaco

After having previously played for Polish top tier side Piast Gliwice, Glik would make the move to Italy in 2010 where he had relatively low-key spells at Palermo and Bari before joining Torino in 2011. He would go on to represent Il Toro in 171 matches in total, being made club captain in the 2013-2014 season and qualifying for the UEFA Europa League the following year.

In July 2016 the Poland international was sold to AS Monaco on a four-year contract and the following season would play a vital role in Monaco's UEFA Champions League campaign to the semi-final stage as well as a famous Ligue 1 title win.

"Firstly, he's a very, very good defender," said former teammate Youri Tielemans. "And his calmness brings balance to a group. But he's also a rock who moves everything. You can tell by his build. He's essential to the group.." In his later years with the Principality side, Glik became a senior figure in the dressing room, often acting as a role model and an example for younger players breaking into the first team.

It's not only in his domestic career where Glik has found success. The defender made his international debut for Poland in 2009, and has since made over 100 appearances for the Biało-czerwoni, featuring in Euro 2016, the 2018 World Cup, Euro 2020, and most recently the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"I'm happy with what I've achieved in football,’ continues Glik." I've worked hard to reach this level. If you give everything, always, in training and in matches, it pays off. In my case, it was a bit of talent and a lot of hard work."