Dominik Greif:  The goalkeeper’s performance is 80% in his head.
Credit image: Dominik Greif


Dominik GREIF (27) comes from Bratislava, Slovakia. He came up from ŠK Vrakuňa Bratislava and later ŠK Slovan Bratislava, and he became the blue dress’ number 1 goalkeeper in the 2018/2019 season. He joined other players at the international football agency STARS & FRIENDS in 2018. He got to this season’s finale of a prestigious Spanish competition, Copa Del Rey, along with RCD Mallorca, a Spanish football club which he joined in 2021. 

Our conversation takes place one month after the final fight for the royal cup of Copa del Rey in Sevilla, in which you played for RCD Mallorca. How was the game? What made it stand out among other games in the league, or the cup itself?

It’s a huge event, happening at a colossal stadium with thousands of fans.  All the more so, since it’s usually a matter of Real Madrid or FC Barcelona. The Spanish king presents the awards himself, and the audience is full of famous people and celebrities. It’s totally incomparable with a more ‘usual’ game. 

(note: the stadium has a capacity of 57 000)

Was the day of the game special in some way, or did it go like usual when you play on foreign fields? What was it like?

The kickoff didn’t happen until 10 p.m. so the anticipation and tension were neverending. There was also my family and STARS & FRIENDS
representatives Roman Vojtek and Karol Csonto there to support me, which really made my day better and helped me relax. I didn’t have to think just about the game for the whole day.

At the beginning of the competition, you had to take a break because of some health issues, but later you helped to get Mallorca all the way to the finals. It must have been really motivating and satisfying. 

I only missed one out of eight games in the cup. In the second round, against an opponent from the third or fourth league, because of a virus. I was available in the league games since the beginning of the season. But of course, getting to play such a big game with a club like RCD Mallorca is a great achievement.

In Copa del Rey, you got all the way to the desired finale, where it came down to the penalties. How did you and your team manage to get so far in the competition?

We performed really well. Our team is very hard to beat and that can get you far in a cup competition.


Credit imagej: The joy of advancing to the Copa del Rey final
Credit imagej: The joy of advancing to the Copa del Rey final


You seemed really confident throughout the whole finale, how does a goalkeeper react after missing a goal which evens the score? Does he
automatically start thinking about the possibility of a penalty shootout?

I tried to enjoy it as much as I could, because it might never happen again. And I did, quite a lot. After the even score, which came pretty soon after switching sides, the opponent had an about 15-minutes long moment where I didn’t think about penalties at all. On the contrary, I felt like they were going to score another two or three goals.

Eventually, the penalties decided and the team Athletic Bilbao took home the cup. What did you feel immediately after the game? 

The game was happening on my birthday, so I hoped it would turn out good. Unfortunately, it didn’t. We were all extremely sad and disappointed. I woke up in a sweat, because I dreamed of the penalties that I was so close to catching but didn’t, even several days after the game. I can still say today that I still feel sad and disappointed. Mostly because we got so close to something so, so big. That’s how it goes in football, someone is always celebrating while the other is let down.

(note: Bilbao won the cup after 40 years)

You only competed in the Spanish cup this season, except of the La Liga game in Valenzia, which ended 0:0. Why did the coach put you on the field?

It was the last game before the finale and I haven’t played a game for about a month, So the coach put me in the field to get some practice. 

Before you transferred to one of the top 5 leagues in the world, you were part of the largest sports club in Slovakia - Slovan Bratislava. Where are the main differences or similarities when it comes to the coach’s work with goalkeepers?

Hard to say, but I think it really depends on the goalkeeper coach and his philosophy. Our coach really likes to work hard, so we often start our training sooner than the rest of the team so we can get some extra work done with him. But it was really hard to get used to the volume and difficulty of the exercises, especially in the beginning.

Credit image: Dominik Greif
Credit image: Dominik Greif


More young, prospective goalkeepers are starting to show in Slovak sports clubs. What advice would you give them? 

The goalkeeper’s performance is 80% in his head. Of course you need to train hard and be ready, but the goalkeeper’s position is so specific that it can’t be just that. There are a lot of top-level goalkeepers, who might not have the best technique, yet no one can tell in the actual game, because it’s about making correct, difficult choices in a blink of an eye, and mentally handling it.

A lot was written about your health condition, since you were put out of the game right after you arrived at Mallorca. How are you feeling now? 

I’m at full disposal to my team since October 2022. No breaks, illnesses or injuries. I think that speaks for itself and it makes me very happy. I’m also very thankful to the people of the STARS & FRIENDS agency. They recommended consultations with a professional and her procedures really helped.

Did you speak to your coach about a possible spot in the ME 2024?

I haven’t spoken to anyone from the representation in more than 2 years. I didn’t even make it to the reserves in the last nomination. The season only has 3 weeks left, which means that I don’t really think about the EURO, I’m just planning out the free time between seasons. When you’re not home for such a long time, there’s a lot to take care of.

Time of the summer transfers is close, and there has been some speculation about you leaving Mallorca already. Can you tell us more? 

I can’t be more specific for obvious reasons. After all, nothing is sure until it’s really decided. There’s a possibility that I will stay in Mallorca, but also that I will leave. I will most likely stay in Spain, though. We’ll see. We’re going over a lot of possibilities with my agent. My health problems helped me realise more than ever how short and fragile this career is. I’m 27 years old already and I had three practically wasted seasons. But I feel really good, I’m fit and I believe there are great football times ahead for me.

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