Victor Pálsson: You have to be a good role model for the younger players

As vice captain and experienced player, Victor Pálsson leads by example at FC Schalke 04. The 30-year-old spoke to about his leadership skills, the stages that have shaped his career and the best Icelandic footballer among other things. He also tells us which club he supported as a kid.

Victor Pálsson

Victor, how do you find the role of vice captain?

I am one of the most experienced players in the squad, so I like to take on responsibility. It’s not so much about the role itself, but rather that there are players who are leaders – we have a few of those in the squad.

What does one need as a strong leader?

You have to be a good role model, especially for the younger players. The way you behave off the pitch is important, how you are on the pitch and how you train as well.

From the outside it looks as though the team gets on well personality-wise…

Everyone is different, everyone has a different personality. We have a lot of good characters in the group. It’s also valuable that everyone is a bit different and everyone in the team has something distinct to offer.

I try to help Andreas and Marius as much as possible both on and off the pitch.

Victor Pálsson

You speak various languages, including a bit of Norwegian. Did you immediately become close with Andreas Vindheim and Marius Lode?

When Andreas and Marius moved to Schalke I went over to them and introduced myself in Norwegian. It’s always easier when someone speaks the same language as you. We had dinner together. I try to help them as much as possible both on and off the pitch.

Let’s move on to you: You have a lot of tattoos. Are there any that are especially important to you?

The first tattoo I had done was the name of my mother. I also have a picture of her. I value those two tattoos the most because my mother died a year ago. I also have a tattoo of my son that also means a lot to me.

Which team did you support when you first got interested in football?

As a kid I was a big fan of Manchester United. Then when I was 17 I signed for Liverpool and things changed (he chuckles). I was called out for that sometimes but it wasn’t too bad.

To playing for a club the size of FC Schalke 04 is hard to put into words.

Victor Pálsson

As a child and teenager in Iceland, you grew up when Eidur Gudjohnsen was the country’s big star. Will there ever be a better player than him for your home country?

Ásgeir Sigurvinsson, who used to play for Stuttgart, is someone who is talked about a lot in Iceland. Gylfi Sigurdsson has been successful in the Premier League for the last few years. But when you look at Eidur’s stats and the titles he has won, you can’t really compare him to any other Icelandic footballer.

Iceland qualified for EURO 2016 and the World Cup in 2018 but you weren’t called up to the squad…

It wasn’t easy to be left out of the squads in 2016 and 2018. In 2020, we had the opportunity to qualify for the EUROS again but unfourtunately we went out after conceding late in the playoff against Hungary.

You have played football all over the world. Which period in your career was most important to your development?

I really enjoyed my time in Switzerland. It’s a really nice country and Zürich is a great city. The landscapes are breathtaking and I travelled a lot through Switzerland with the family. The team was successful; we played in the Europa League and won the cup. That was the first title of my career. New York was also an amazing city – maybe a bit dangerous for a 20-year (he laughs). And now, to be playing for a club the size of FC Schalke 04 is hard to put into words.

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