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Sami Khedira at DFB

May 24, 2011
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Reader Ilse has just sent in her translation of Sami’s interview with the German football association, which I mentioned in the previous post.  It’s quite a good read, because we get to hear a lot about Sami’s impressions of Madrid, both the club and the city, and those are the type of things I’m always interested in!  So a big thanks to Ilse, and enjoy the interview!

After the World Cup, your Madrid adventure began, what was your first day like?

The team was already training in Los Angeles. Everything was impressive to me, the club, the stadium, the training ground. They showed me everything on the first day, and I was already somewhat nervous. It was a journey into an uncertain future. I came to a country that I didn’t know, a city I didn’t know and a club I didn’t know.

Then you flew to join the team. What was your first training session with Mourinho like?

I didn’t understand a word and I didn’t know what they wanted from me. Luckily, Rafael van der Vaart helped me a lot, because he could speak both Spanish and German. And the coach gave me directions in English. It worked out one way or another. It showed that the coach does everything for his players and the the guys were really great as well. The club is a true international brand and helps with everything you can think of.

For example?

Opening a bank account, finding a house. They arranged for someone to help me with those things. He also showed me restaurants and places to get coffee.

You’ve now been in Madrid for about a year, what do you think about it?

By now, I know my way around the city, so I can find things. I haven’t been able to see it in detail, but I will do so in the future. Madrid has a lot to offer, such as very good museums, which I want to go see, although I know some already.

But you don’t live in Madrid?

No, I have a house about 30 km away. Madrid is very beautiful, but also very big and loud. We travel a lot with Real and therefore it’s good for me to have some calmness at home. The area around Madrid is very beautiful and I feel very good there. And if I want to go to the city, I can get there very quickly.

When you go out, can you move about freely?

Luckily, I’m not Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course I get recognized and people ask for pictures and autographs. But I don’t feel bothered and I can move around the city.

Who from Real are you close to?

Clearly, Mesut.  But I also have contact with Cristiano, and many of the other players are friendly, such as Pepe and Marcelo. They are very open and funny, and they involve everyone. In the beginning, if I didn’t know something, I knew I could always turn to them.  And Jerzy Dudek would always be there to listen if I need that, he always asked if I were okay or if I needed anything. I could always reach him and he never gave me the feeling that I was getting on his nerves [how sweet!!!]

What aspect of Spain did you like the most so far?

Generally, I like the mentality. The Spanish enjoy their lives and live very consciously. When you move around, it’s very rarely hectic, the life is more relaxed than in Germany.

Living in Spain also means knowing the language. You’ve spent a lot of time to learn Spanish quickly, you had a personal tutor, with whom you practiced several hours a day. Were your colleagues surprised at how fast you were learning?

Surprised? They expected that of me. They told me in the beginning, you are German and Germans are smart, so you will learn the language quickly. Of course, they used Christoph Metzelder as an example, but for me he was a bad example (smiles).  He could speak Spanish on his first day in Madrid [go Metze!!!].

How fast did it go for you? When was the first time you spoke Spanish in front of the team?

I had to do that after only three weeks, when we were eating with the whole team during a lunch organized by Iker Casillas. All the new players were there and at one point it was my turn and I had to say something.

And how did you manage?

I just spoke in German. You can say quite a lot, even when you don’t understand anyone. It wasn’t very serious, what I said there. It was the same for Mesut. Nobody understood anything, but they were cheering for us anyway.  That was a lot of fun.

So it was all very positive, were there also disappointments?

We were hoping for more success. Real Madrid is a club that strives for maximum success – Liga, Copa and Champions League. We missed the Liga and didn’t win the Champions League either. Those were the goals of the club, and also my personal goals. In that way you could say it was a failure. But you have to look at the big picture. Barcelona has a team that has played together for six or seven years. We have a new team, a new coach and a new philosophy. We didn’t achieve our goals, but for this being a first year, we played well.

What’s missing compared to Barcelona?

Of course Barcelona is the best team at the moment, when you look purely at football and play. But we have shown that we can beat them. And we have decided that next year we want to be at least at the same level as Barcelona.

You won the Copa, how important was this win for the club?

Real hadn’t won anything for three years, so this was very special, as every title counts. The Copa is not the Champions League, but for us it was very important to celebrate this win with the fans.

What makes you believe that you will be better next season?

You have to look at last season. We trained hard and intensively and we got better during the season. That will continue, the team will stay together more or less and be reinforced at certain positions.

Looking at last season, for you personally, from a sports point of view, what did you think?

I’m very happy with my first year. When I was 100 percent fit, I played quite well the majority of the times, in my view. I’m working on becoming more dangerous in front of the goal. I’ve decided that next season I want to be more dominant and to be involved more in the goals and hopefully to also score sometime.

One of the reinforcements is Nuri Sahin, who can also play on your position, what do you feel about this transfer?

It’s totally normal for a coach to want more players for every position, with 60 matches per season. I’m not afraid of competition and I’m looking forward to Nuri. He’s a good guy and a super player. It’s good for Real Madrid when they get quality. We want to win titles and for that we need quality, not just filling in the holes. I’m convinced that I will be a core player next season.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    May 24, 2011 18:20

    Iker and Ramos should be involve more in helping their teammates, I know there is a language barrier sometime, but they apparently dont as much as I want them too, I might be wrong, but it seems every time a new player is asked about who is helping them the most first name mentioned in Cristano.

    Speaking of captains, is it true we are playing a friendly game against Schalke in July, oh I hope so, I want a pasillo for Raul too, is it too much to ask for?

  2. May 24, 2011 18:58

    Oooh, I like this interview a lot! Thank you, Ilse, for translating and you, Una, for sharing it.

  3. Gillian permalink
    May 24, 2011 22:52

    Awesome interview! Thanks for sharing!

  4. DebS permalink
    May 25, 2011 02:53

    Thank you Isle for translating this for us and thank you Una for posting it. I too like these kind of interviews that take a look at the personal side of the players rather than just the football side.

    I particularly liked the Q&A about Nuri joining the team. I sense that this is why Madrid is bringing in new players…to reinforce certain positions. And, I think the competition is good for the players. For example, I think Sergio played much better after he saw that Arbeloa was doing so well at rightback. This is very good motivation from Mou and is why he seems to get the best out of his players. He won’t hesitate to not start the “regulars” if they aren’t playing well and someone else is.

    I really liked Sami in the WC and even more once he started playing with Madrid. Maybe now with a few weeks off, he will be able to recuperate fully. I too thought he played much better when he was fit…towards the end of the season in particular.

  5. DebS permalink
    May 25, 2011 03:01

    OMG! I can’t believe that I forgot to comment about Jerzy helping out Sami! He seems like such a great guy and role model for the guys. Makes it even worse that he’s leaving. :{

  6. Jessie permalink
    May 25, 2011 18:50

    cool interview, i never paid much attention to the german players on real madrid, but he seems nice

  7. May 26, 2011 10:55

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    One season without injury – that’s all I wish for Sami, so that he can show at last his true potential!

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