Denmark under-21 international Emiliano Marcondes became the first signing of the Scott Parker era when he joined AFC Bournemouth in July 2021.
The Cherries saw off competition from a host of clubs to secure the frontman’s signature following his departure from Brentford.
Marcondes played a starring role as Brentford clinched promotion to the Premier League, scoring and winning the man-of-the-match award in the 2021 Championship play-off final.
His farewell appearance for the Bees came in the Wembley showpiece against Swansea, Marcondes adding to Ivan Toney’s penalty as Thomas Frank’s team triumphed 2-0.
Marcondes also played a significant role as Brentford booked their place in the final by beating the Cherries in the semi-final, the forward featuring in both legs.
He made 97 appearances in all competitions for the Bees after moving to west London from Danish Superliga outfit Nordsjaelland in January 2018.
He was voted Superliga player of the year at the 2017 Danish Football Awards and scored 38 goals in 120 games for Nordsjaelland.
Marcondes sat down with MATCHDAY to discuss his career to date, including his work with Right To Dream Academy, his impressive record at table tennis and why he rides a scooter to Vitality Stadium.
How have you settled in to the club and the area?
Very well. I like the area very much and love the beach. Nature is something I missed living in London, you don’t see a lot of that and it’s very busy. Here, you can relax a bit more and I like that a lot more. It reminds me more of Denmark.
How helpful has Philip Billing been with you adjusting to a new club?
He has helped me feel safe and secure in a way where I can ask him questions about the club or the area. It’s always easier when you have someone who speaks the same language. He has been very important for me.
Explain how your name is made up – Emiliano Marcondes Camargo Hansen?
Emiliano is a Brazilian/Italian name. My big brother wanted me to have a Danish name but my mum didn’t want that. I’m happy I got an exotic first name! Marcondes is my mum’s mum, Camargo is my mum’s dad and Hansen is my dad’s surname.
What are your personal aims for the rest of the season?
To play a lot of games and to contribute with goals and assists. I will work hard to help the team and do what the gaffer and the coaches want me to do. I’d like to have a role that is very important for the squad, that’s my goal. I want to help the team win promotion.
Do you have any superstitions?
Sometimes I will do the same things if I have had a good game. I did things when I was younger like being behind a centre-back when we took to the pitch. But I forgot to do it in one game and still played well so I thought it was nothing to do with that. I want to get rid of all that because you have to be ready and can’t prepare for every situation. If you forget your shin pads or something, you still have to play like normal.
Who’s going to win the Danish Superliga?
Good question! I think FC Copenhagen look very strong this season and I think they will win it. But FC Midtjylland also look strong so it could be close.
If you could swap with one other sportsperson, who would it be?
Lewis Hamilton. I’m quite fascinated about being in fast cars. It must be great to be driving so fast and be allowed to do it!
How come you scooter to the ground?
Why not? It’s nice to be free and to do something a bit different. When you live near the beach, you have to live your life to the full. Every morning, I see the beautiful sea and it’s quite relaxing for the mind. I like to have a mind-set that’s not fixed and to be open about things and try to do things differently that can help me on a daily basis to have good mental health.
If you weren’t a footballer, what would you be?
It’s a question I have always tried to answer but can’t really. I have given everything to being a footballer and I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a footballer. The answer would probably be a different person.
Which other sport do you excel at?
I used to be good at handball many years ago. Nobody here can beat me at table tennis.
What’s your favourite takeaway?
Where is the one place in the world you would love to visit?
I’m going to Egypt next summer and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m going to visit the new Right To Dream Academy. That’s the next thing I’m thinking about travel-wise.
Which of your team-mates has the best dress sense?
Lloyd Kelly likes to be special and he mixes it up well. I like Phil Billing as well. It’s not always that good but I like it that they have the courage to be different and not just follow the rest.
What’s your dress sense like?
Right now, it’s the same clothes all the time because I’m still living in an hotel. I have five t-shirts and shorts that I swap between. I also have the same shoes.
How did you first get involved with Right To Dream Academy?
When I played for Nordsjaelland, Tom Vernon bought the club and the whole academy changed. We had a lot of character-building and development sessions. After training, we would have lessons about our character and how to build our brand as a footballer and what we can use outside football, how we can exploit the attention in a good way. When the guys from Right To Dream came to visit, I would always help them and talk to them. They were so wonderful. We went on a training camp and I said I wanted to stay with one of the players to see the difference in culture. I have always been interested in cultural differences. The stories he told me about how he grew up and how he had to take care of his family because his mother had died were very inspiring. That’s how it started and I have always been interested in knowing more and trying to get to know how they do things.
Have you had any thoughts about life after football?
I would like to re-invest in the younger generation and help make a better tomorrow. I would like to be part of Right To Dream or open my own academy in Brazil because I see great potential there. I want to help taking in poor people and kids from the streets and teach them about structure and give them a foundation on the football side and the schooling. Helping people with scholarships makes me happy.
Apart from family and friends, who is the one person you would like to have lunch with and why?
Godsway Donyoh. He’s the Ghanaian footballer that I stayed with when I visited Right To Dream Academy on the training camp.
Which actor would you want to play you in a film of your life?
Jim Carrey is an unbelievable character and very funny. He would make my life a bit funnier!
What’s your favourite dish?
My dad’s lasagne.
Are you a good cook?
I used to be but I haven’t cooked a meal for three or four months. I’ve been in an hotel for two months and was on vacation for a month before that. I need to get into it again.
Who was your favourite player when you were growing up?
Firstly, the Brazilian Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and then Cristiano Ronaldo. I was very inspired by Brazilian players and my dad always said a lot of good things about them. When I asked my dad for new boots, he said Ronaldo and Ronaldinho didn’t wear boots. I was inspired by that and never asked him again!
Who has been your toughest opponent so far?
When I was at Nordsjaelland, we played Zenit St Petersburg in a Champions League qualifier and they won 5-0. They had some amazing players like Hulk, Andrey Arshavin and Axel Witsel and we didn’t touch the ball. It was another world and I thought I was so far from playing top football. I was 18 at the time.
What’s your greatest achievement?
Probably being the top goalscorer in the first half of a season in the Danish Superliga, scoring 18 goals and something like 11 assists in 20 games.
What’s your biggest regret?
Not travelling to Brazil when I hadn’t seen my mum for more than seven years. I hadn’t seen her since I was ten-years-old and I was 17 when she passed away.