Ilija Nestorovski is a Macedonian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Udinese. He captains the team and also plays for the North Macedonia national football team.

He was born in 1990 in Prilep. At the age of 30, he had already made a name for himself. He started his senior career at FC Pobeda Prilep. He then transferred to FC Slovácko, played for Viktoria Žižkov, Metalurg, Inter Zaprešić, Palermo, and finally Udinese.

During his career, Nestorovski has made over 310 appearances and scored more than 130 goals. He has represented our country 46 times and scored ten goals for Macedonia. So, it’s truly my pleasure to introduce you to him today. Let’s hear his story.

1. Who Is Ilija Nestorovski?

Tose Zafirov

Q: Hello, Ilija. To start, I would like to thank you for being here. I know your background, but would you like to share a brief introduction to your life with the audience? In other words, who is Ilija Nestorovski?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: Hello, Tose. Thank you for having me. Above all, Ilija Nestorovski is a family man, a husband, and a father of two beautiful children. I am a dedicated, professional footballer, currently in Udinese.

I cannot spend a day in my life without training and football. Still, I want to use every free moment I have with my family. Usually, I take each opportunity to travel off-season and during breaks.

2. Where Did It All Start?

Tose Zafirov

Q: Today, you are a successful footballer and an inspiration to many. But how did it all start? When did you start training and developing the love for this sport?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: To be honest, my love for football was born at the age of six. It was the first time I kicked a ball and started training. From that moment until today, this dedication only grew stronger, day by day, month by month, and year by year.

3. How Does It Feel to Represent Your Country?

Tose Zafirov

Q: Now, I got something interesting for you. How does it feel to represent your country in front of the world, knowing that so many people rely upon your performance? Is it stressful?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: The feeling is truly amazing, knowing that you are representing your country and your people. Each player dreams of this from the youngest of age. You know, you dream of wearing the national team jersey.

However, the responsibility of it is enormous because you can either cheer your people up or make them sad. After all, it all comes down to your performance.

4. What Is Your Most Meaningful Achievement?

Tose Zafirov

Q: What is your most meaningful achievement? And when I say meaningful, I refer to something you hold dear to your heart. Is there a particular football match you’ll never forget?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: A lot of matches will remain in my memory forever. But if I have to choose, I must say it’s the competition against Georgia. It enabled us a historic ranking at the European Football Championship.

5. What Is Your Advice to Beginners in Your Niche?

Tose Zafirov

Q: Do you have something you would like to share with beginners in football or the younger generation? How much dedication is needed to get where you are today?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: I would advise them to keep pursuing their dreams. There are lots of obstacles in football and the way to success.

However, they should never give up, especially when things get challenging the first time around. They should believe in themselves, and what’s most important, to keep training, as in the end, it all pays out.

6. A Day in the Life of Ilija Nestorovski

Tose Zafirov

Q: Can you describe a day in your life? Do you follow a special diet and use fitness centers? Also, how can they help maintain a player’s figure and enhance a player’s performance, in your opinion?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: So, the day starts with carrying my children to kindergarten. After that, I continue to the training camp in Udinese, where we have the obligatory breakfast, then the training, and finally the obligatory lunch.

All in all, I spend approximately seven to eight hours per day in the camp. We also have nutritionists in the club who care about our diet and form.

To be more specific, each player has an individual nutrition program to follow. We use the gym at the camp each day before football training. Let’s say it’s a type of muscle prevention. We also use the gym after training 3-4 times per week.

In my opinion, nutrition and the gym are some of the most important factors for today’s athletes.

7. What Was Your Experience With the Injury?

Tose Zafirov

Q: Would you like to share something more about the injury you suffered before the European Championship? How do you feel now, what makes you happy apart from football and how do you spend your free time?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: It was April 23 when my teammate passed and broke my dream of performing on the EURO with my Macedonia. At that moment, I was utterly broken and sad because I know how much the performance at the European Championship meant to me.

Now I feel fantastic, and I am entirely dedicated to rehabilitating the knee. Thank God it’s going well.

Apart from football, what makes me happy is my family and the time spent with them.

8. How Do You Balance It All?

Tose Zafirov

Q: As you explained, you spend a considerable portion of your day in the football camp. So, my question at this point is, is it challenging to maintain a balance between your private life and the football career?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: When there is love and understanding in a family, it’s not hard at all. For instance, when I am away for several days, I try to make it up to my family once I am back.

I try and want to make up for the lost time with my children and wife by doing things that make us happy.

9. The Difference Between On- and off-Season

Tose Zafirov

Q: Is your life significantly different in season and off-season, including diet and exercise?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: The difference lies in the first 10-15 days when the season ends. In this period, I relax completely. I don’t train at all, and I literally eat everything that my soul or I want.

The rest of the time, I’m totally focused on a proper diet and training every day.

10. What Is Your Message to the World?

Tose Zafirov

Q: Last but not least, Ilija, if you could send one message that the entire world would hear, what would you tell them?

Ilija Nestorovski

A: My immediate message is for everyone to get vaccinated so that we can finally get back to “normal life” and end the Pandemic. Also, I wish each person around the globe good health and safety.

Final Words

Thank you very much for your honest and inspiring answers, Ilija, and I wish you all the best.

If you want to learn a thing or two more about Ilija Nestorovski, make sure to check out Ilija’s Official Wikipedia Page.


Ilija Nestorovski Social Media Profiles:


If you want to check the inspiring stories of many other sports professionals, make sure to check the Interviews page.

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