Kenan Kodro Shares His Thoughts On Being Compared To His Father And His Exciting Move To Athletic Club
Things have moved quickly for Kenan Kodro. The son of famous Bosnian international, Meho Kodro, Kenan was born in San Sebastián while his father played for Real Sociedad. The young striker grew up at Zubieta before eventually joining Osasuna where he spent three years before leaving for Mainz. His time in Germany didn’t work out and last month Athletic signed the 25-year-old from Copenhagen. Just a few days later Kodro made his debut at the San Mamés against Barcelona and recently shared his experience in an interview with Robert Basic of El Correo.
“My debut was magnificent. Based on how the week progressed I thought I could get the chance, but I didn’t want to believe either because I had only been here seven days and I told myself that maybe I wasn’t going to be in the squad. Those were three or four good, intense minutes and I am very happy for the welcome from the fans. I am grateful to the fans and will try to return it to them on the field. All I have left to say is thank you and show on the field that I can be here.”
Kodro still visits Bosnia regularly due to his participation with the National Team and wanting to see family. He loves being home, but the Basque Country is special to him as well. Growing up in Gipuzkoa, Kodro learned to speak three languages and is even somewhat fluent in Euskera.
“I go to Bosnia every year for the Selection and also in my free time with my family. I see where my family is from, where they were born. For me that’s the most important thing, family. I like to go because it gives me life and energy. At home we always spoke Bosnian and then I went to an English school and learned English. With my friends I learned Spanish. So I speak three languages and a little Basque. I am Bosnian, Spanish, and Basque. It’s a great mix.”
Kenan was too young to see his father play in his prime at Real Sociedad and Barcelona, but he did get to see him with Tenerife. Falling in love with football as a child, Kenan admitted that he never wanted to go to school and preferred to visit his father at training and matches.
“I didn’t get to see my father play for Real or Barcelona, but I did when he was at Tenerife. I went to the stadium with my mother and then went down on the field. That’s when my love of football started. I went to training and didn’t want to go to school. I cried because I wanted to go with my father. I didn’t know if I was going to become a footballer, but I was going to fight for it. I had talent and was better than others and sometimes I didn’t go to school. My mother doesn’t know that. I love football and when my father bought me boots I slept with them. It was crazy.”
As the son of Meho Kodro Kenan has always had pressure on his shoulders. It’s natural that he will be compared with his father, but he says that he has to make his own career. Joining the Real Sociedad academy really helped him understand his father’s legacy, and leaving Zubieta was something of a relief.
“Being the son of Meho Kodro became a part of my life and I accept it. I know how people are, the press, who will always make comparisons with my father. I have to score my own goals so that people value me for that I do. Perhaps I felt liberated when I left Real Sociedad. There was a lot of pressure and I was young. I still am. I probably didn’t understand how professional football worked and what my father represented there.”
Despite growing up at Zubieta and having a father who was a legend for Real Sociedad, Kenan Kodro admitted that there was always a possibility of signing for Athletic. The Lions had shown interest in him in the past and he knew that if he played well they would continue watching him. He’s immensely proud of the Athletic policy and identity.
“There was always the possibility of playing at Athletic. I am Basque, born in San Sebastián. I knew that if I had a good season they could think of me. Thank God it has happened. If you are asking if I ever thought about playing for Athletic, yes. I always knew Athletic was a big club. Now I am here and I see that I wasn’t wrong. Athletic’s philosophy is like no one else. People should feel proud because no one else in the world has this. We have to be proud.”
Now that he is an Athletic player, Kodro wants to fully adapt to the team. He’s gone from not playing regular football to now being on what he calls the best team he’s ever been a part of. As a striker he understands that he will be valued by his goals and says that he will work hard to show that he deserves a place at the San Mamés.
“The first thing I want to do here is adapt well. I have to adapt to the coach, my teammates, and the style of play. It’s been a difficult year and a half. I was at Osasuna and I left for Mainz, then Grasshopper, and then Copenhagen and it wasn’t so good. It was hard to adapt and they didn’t give me a real chance either. I think I have the qualities and potential to do goo things at Athletic. A striker is valued for the goals he scores. I will try to give everything on the field. If I work hard the goals will come. I would tell the fans that now they have another Athletic player. I ask them to trust me and give me time because I will do the impossible to score goals.”
One of the most exciting aspects of joining Athletic is the chance to learn from Aritz Aduriz. Kodro remarked that the legendary striker has done amazing things for the club and he wants to learn as much as possible from him and Raúl García as well.
“I want to learn from Aduriz. He has marked a special era at the club. He’s an example for everyone who starts and has highs and lows because football can be played when you are 20, 30, or 35 years old. Now he’s 38 and I take my hat off to him. We have to thank him for everything he has done for the club. My father was my idol growing up. I loved forwards and I loved to score goals, especially with my head. I liked Zlatan Ibrahimovic because he could do it all. Here at Athletic there are good players like Raúl García and Aduriz. I can learn a lot from them.”
Before ending the interview, Kenan Kodro discussed how he made the move to Athletic. His uncle, who is also his agent, shared with him that there was interest, although he didn’t want to know anything until it was certain. His father, and entire family for that matter, was excited about the move. Still just 25 years old, Kodro is proud to be able to say that he is an international for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as an Athletic Club player.
“Mela, my uncle and representative, was the one who called me and told me there was a possibility to come to Athletic. He couldn’t assure me it would happen, but in the end it did and I am grateful to the club. I didn’t talk to my father about it because I didn’t want to know anything until I was sure. Then, when we spoke he was positively surprised. He is very happy and so am I and my family. My teammates from the National Team called me to congratulate me. They know where I came from and now to a great club. Now they have a good footballer who plays at Athletic.”
Kenan Kodro was signed by Athletic for a specific purpose. Manager Gaizka Garitano and Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta saw the needed for a traditional center forward with Aritz Aduriz suffering from a knee injury and they moved quickly to bring Kodro to the club. Now he will have to chance to earn regular minutes and will do so at a club he has respected and admired his entire life.