In the first part of his exclusive interview with Football Italia, former Roma left-back John Arne Riise tells us why he wrote his autobiography Running Man.
Speaking to Livio Caferoglu at the Golazio bar in South London for the launch for Running Man, Riise revealed the inspiration for his book, what it was like channelling his experiences into written form and how he overcame a ‘hard’ start to writing it.
“First of all, I know people are curious about your life as a footballer and how it became your lifestyle and people grow up from different areas of the world and have different backgrounds,” began the ex-Liverpool man.
“I wanted to tell my story because some people have a view on John Arne Riise from the media, but I wanted to tell them who I was so they could get to know the real John.
“I decided to be open and honest in my book, on and off the pitch, and hopefully people can say ‘OK he didn’t have a life just in football, there were ups and downs in his life as well’ after reading it.
“There was a lot of going back and forth. When I decided to be open and honest, I had to be open and honest.
“There were certain things you rather not talk about and [you’re unsure about] how deep you can go in your conversations.
“During the discussion with the guy who wrote my book [Jens M. Johansson], I said ‘OK do I really want to talk about that, do I really have to say that…’
“But I’ve always been an outspoken person, so I wanted people to get to know my story. If they don’t like me after that, fair enough.
“It was hard because I don’t trust many people and even though he wrote my book, I’d never met him before and needed to get to know him.
“We became friends but it was hard because at the beginning it was like, this new guy, I’d never met him before and I’m going to tell him all my experiences.
“It was hard to open up at the beginning, but then I got to know him better and loved the guy and it went smoothly after that. We’d talk for hours, hours and hours.
“I think we’d do 3-4 hours of talking and then he went back and wrote things down, so it went very well. I forget stuff and don’t think about things, but he did so much research.
“Before every meeting, he’d write down so many things he wanted to talk about. He did a great job.”