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BEHIND THE SHIRT

Cas Odenthal: the interview

In the small picturesque town of Leersum, in The Netherlands, Como 1907’s future Center-Back emerged carrying the legacy of his grandfather, former Dutch international Joop Odenthal. Cas Odenthal’s football journey kicked off at the age of 12 when he joined FC Utrecht. Fast forward six years, and he signed with NEC Nijmegen, where he made 72 appearances and scored a crucial goal during the 2020–21 season, aiding NEC’s promotion to the Eredivisie. His impressive performance caught the eye of Como 1907, leading to a three-year deal in July 2022.

For Cas, living in Como feels like a dream and in this interview we dive into his influences, his advice for anyone coming to visit Como, who would make up his perfect Defender and learning to speak Italian by reading Italian children’s books. Just don’t ask him to talk about what else he is good at. A humble guy (when asked about his two goals this seasons he puts them down to the two incredible passes he got from Moutir Chajia and Ben Kone) and with a love of his nation’s famous sarcastic sense of humour he is relaxed off the pitch, saving his focus for games When asked about his other skills, Odenthal jokingly defers to his mum but admits to being disciplined and enjoying a structured life.

For Odenthal, Como 1907 offers a trifecta of appeal—ambitious club goals, an incredible life in Como, and the support of legendary fans.

On the moment he knew he was going to make it as a professional footballer

The dream of becoming a professional footballer crystallised after signing his first contract, Odenthal declared: “Now we go all in”. His commitment meant missing out on parties with friends, avoiding alcohol, and missing family holidays to focus on training and making a mark in the football world.

The Perfect Centre Back: Maldini, Ramos, and Hummels Blend

When asked about his favourite player, Odenthal didn’t settle for one. Instead, he aimed to amalgamate the best qualities from multiple legends, aspiring to be the perfect Centre-Back by drawing inspiration from the best in the business: “I really liked Paolo Maldini; he was elegant in defence and a leader. Then, Sergio Ramos—aggressive, a real leader, and scores goals. Mats Hummels, too; his build-up is insane. I try to get the best qualities from them. Those three would make the perfect centre back.”

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

In the realm of influences, Odenthal gives the top spot to his father, the go-to person for football discussions. “My Dad, I always watch games with him, and he gives me advice.”

What’s it like being managed by Cesc Fàbregas?

Transitioning to Como 1907 meant first playing with and then being managed by none other than Cesc Fàbregas. According to Odenthal, Fàbregas brings clarity to the game plan: “With Cesc, we know the game plan before we step on the pitch. He’s clear about what he wants and gives us confidence. He’s really professional. Our mentality is now all about winning; before, it was about not losing.”

Beyond Football? The outdoors and all things sport

“You need to ask my mum what I’m good at (laughs). Maybe I’m really disciplined; I like to structure my life. I played tennis, too, as a kid but chose football.” Odenthal likes to be outdoors, often swimming in the lake and is a fan of reading non-fiction. His current read, “Legacy,” explores the success of the All Blacks. “I loved mountain biking and hiking when I was younger. I like to be outdoors. I also read non-fiction. Currently reading a book about the All Blacks; it’s very good. I like learning about other sports and coaches. I am also reading an Italian book for kids to help learn the language (laughs again).”

Philosophy of Life: Adding Value

Odenthal’s life philosophy revolves around adding value to everything he does. He believes that if you fail to contribute positively, you become replaceable.

Best thing about being at Como 1907?

“Firstly, it’s a super ambitious club. Secondly, life in Como is insane. Thirdly, the fans! The support here is legendary.

Reflecting on the season, Odenthal notes the change in how he feels this season. The Netherlands native now feels at home in Como, both on and off the pitch.

“Last season was more difficult for me, I came from The Netherlands, I had to adapt my style of playing and get used to living abroad and now Como feels like home because my house is here and I feel more comfortable and I know the team and they know me and I feel more at home.”

For those lucky enough to spend 24 hours in Como, Odenthal tells us

“They have to eat at Delfino Blu or Platea, go to Brunate for the beautiful panoramic views of the City, visit Cernobbio (of course) where I live, and Bellagio… There’s too much to do, actually.”

The Dutch Quirk: Sarcasm and the Difficulty of Being Away

When asked about what is the best thing about being Dutch, Odenthal takes pride in his nations’ tradition of sarcasm. “It’s that we’re really sarcastic (our humour). A lot of people don’t understand me, but it’s a lot of fun.”

When asked about what he misses most about home he tells us: “Apart from my family, it’s being able to talk in my own language. It’s difficult to be sarcastic in another language” laughs again as we finish the interview in English…