James Rowe visited the Woudestein stadium, home of Excelsior Rotterdam last week to speak to Luigi Bruins. The midfielder spoke about Excelsior Rotterdam’s good start to the season, his time at Nice in France and the influence Bert van Marwijk had on him when he moved to Feyenoord.

  • Follow James on Twitter


Bruins started his career with Excelsior but left for Feyenoord in 2007, making 70 league appearances for the Rotterdam giants before leaving in 2011 for Red Bull Salzburg. His move to Austria didn’t work out and he rejoined Excelsior a year later before leaving again for Nice in France. After 22 appearances in Ligue 1 Bruins decided on his third spell with Excelsior and has made 40 league appearances in the past two years, scoring twice.

Below is a transcript of our interview with Bruins.

JR: ‘ Excelsior Rotterdam have made a good start to the season with 3 victories so far. How do you explain your good start to the season. Have you as a squad surprised yourselves?”

LB: ”If you look at the expectations from people and the media about us this season it was not much due to the fact that a lot of players left at the end of the last season in which we managed to avoid relegation. We have a lot of new players and we also play in a different way to last season. We are more of a footballing team are with 3 victories from 8 games we can be really happy with our start to the season.”

JR: ”What are the ambitions for Excelsior Rotterdam this season, to stay in the Eredivisie?

LB: ”At present yes. We have managed to stay up the last two seasons without the need of the relegation play-offs and we want to do the same again this season because it is important for the club.”

JR: ”You played for Nice in France ( In a team that finished 4th in Ligue 1 ). Can you tell me about your time in France. What did you learn there and did you enjoy it?

LB: ”I really enjoyed my time there and I learned a lot. The football mentality in France in slightly different and Nice is a fantastic city with great weather and a great place to live with your family. During my first 6 months at Nice we played in the old stadium where it was always full and the supporters provided a great atmosphere. For Euro 2016 they built a new stadium the Allianz Riviera stadium (Which is like a smaller version of the Allianz Arena home to Bayern Munich due to the size of the club. The people were great. We had a good footballing team and a good manager Claude Puel.”

JR: ”That leads me on nicely to my next question you played under Claude Puel who is now manager of Southampton FC. What is he like as a manager?”

LB: ”He is a very calm man and a nice man too who could also be humorous at times. On the sideline during matches he was very passionate and kicked every ball with the team. During training he was always perfecting how he wanted his team to play.”

JR: ”What memories remain from your time in France. Are there particular games that stick in the memory or a an opponent that you played against that played really well?”

LB: ”Our away match against Paris St Germain in terms of the atmosphere. I always found it difficult to play against St Etienne as they are a good strong team. Other games include playing against Olympique Marseille, AS Monaco and Olympique Lyon who are all clubs that have become stronger in recent seasons.”

JR: ”You have also been successful in winning the KNVB Cup in 2008 with Feyenoord. How important was Bert van Marwijk in aiding your development as a player?”

LB: ”I can openly say that he is the best manager I have played for. He is a great man to work for. I was very young at the time of my move from Excelsior Rotterdam to Feyenoord. He gave me a chance to play in the first team and it gave me confidence to do what I can do well. I am still grateful for the belief he showed in me. The training sessions during his tenure were great I enjoyed them and it improved me as a player.”

JR: ”You won with Jong Oranje the European Championship in 2007 (Scoring in the final in a 4-1 win over Serbia). What was it like to achieve success at an international level with the Netherlands?”

LB ”To be honest I only played a small part in the final and not in the games leading up to it. Just 17 minutes in a final so for me personally it was very disappointing tournament. Eventually you win the cup and score a goal in the final and that is nice but in comparison to winning the KNVB Cup where I played the full 90 minutes and scored and made an assist so therefore you have the feeling that you were a real part of it and I did not have that feeling during the European Championships in 2007.”

JR: ”You have played with a lot of good players in your career so far and you are still only 29. Could you say who was the best player you have played with?”

LB: ”That’s difficult to say. Someone who I know and I have played against a lot in the youth teams was Jonathan de Guzman. I think he is a really good footballer and as a person he is great too. Other great players I played with Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Roy Makaay amongst others but I will go with Jonathan de Guzman due to our time in the youth together.”

JR: ”You have played in the Netherlands and in France is there also an opponent where you can say. He is the best player I have played against? ”

LB: ”I played in a pre-season friendly tournament in Rotterdam when I first arrived at Feyenoord with opponents such as Tottenham Hotspur with Luka Modric and Dimitar Berbatov and I also believe that Chelsea were involved in the same tournament and they played at a really high level and with fantastic speed too.”

JR: ”Finally you are currently playing in the Netherlands again. Do you rule out another European adventure or do you wish to finish your career in the Netherlands?”

LB ”I do not rule anything out. For me it is no longer the case of evaluating and claiming to want to stay one or two years longer at a certain club. I am happy here at Excelsior Rotterdam and I have everything I could want here at the club and my family are happy too. If an offer comes then so be it if not then it is also not a problem.”

James Rowe (696 Posts)