SportsKai Havertz: "If they didn't play against Germany, as a child I...

    Kai Havertz: “If they didn’t play against Germany, as a child I always went with Spain”

    The German team’s camp in Qatar is the furthest from the World Cup action of all the participants. They’ve settled in a stupendous luxury resort at the northernmost point of the peninsula, in Al Shamal, on the water’s edge of the Arabian Gulf, an hour and a half from Doha through a sprawling, bush-dappled dryland. They have a piece of grass surrounded by crenellated walls near the training field, where the striker of Chelsea and the German team Kai Havertz receives, who opens this Wednesday against Japan (2:00 p.m., World Goal) in a World Cup with 23 years. When Germany won Brazil 2014, he was 15 and lived with his parents and his brother in Aachen.

    Ask. When it went to extra time in the final against Argentina, did you still watch the game?

    Response. I like to see this type of situation, when you don’t know what is going to happen. It was very exciting. I enjoyed watching it. You could feel that the players were nervous, they had no energy left, I could fall from any side, but I had a feeling that Germany was going to win, so I kept watching it.

    Q. The winning goal was scored by Mario Götze, with whom he now shares the national team. What does it suggest?

    R. It’s okay. It was a great goal. Germany has a great history. If you score the winning goal in a World Cup, you are a great player, a great name in Germany. So it’s good to have him here. You can see his experience, he already won the World Cup, he scored the goal in the final. It’s good to have him on the team, to learn from him, to see how to handle some emotions.

    Q. Götze was 22 years old on that day, and has once said that he would rather have scored that goal later in his career. When you scored the winning goal in the Champions League final with Chelsea, you were 21. Do you think like Götze?

    R. No, for me it’s the other way around. Scoring a goal like that so young has been the best moment of my life so far. After the goal, I thought: “I have fulfilled one of my dreams as a child.” He gave me confidence. I told myself: “Whatever happens now in my career, I’m going to be happy now, because for me winning the Champions League and scoring was a distant dream as a child.” Moments like this make me stronger. I remember that goal very well.

    Q. What did that goal mean after your difficult first year in England?

    R. My first six months at Chelsea were tough. I was 21 years old, it was hard for me to leave Germany, to a new city, new players, new team, new culture, a different kind of football. I knew it was going to take me some time, but as a footballer you want to have everything in the moment, but it wasn’t possible. After six months, they changed the coach, which was good for me, because a German coach came [Tuchel]We changed a lot of things, we played good football and in the end I scored an important goal. So everyone said it had been a perfect season for me, even though I knew I hadn’t played my best football.

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    Q. Can goals sometimes distort the general analysis of the game?

    R. Soccer has changed, especially for offensive players. Everyone looks only at the statistics after the season: how many goals, how many assists. And if you’ve scored 15 or 20 goals, then you’ve had a good season, and if you’ve only scored five, you’ve had the worst season ever, which isn’t fair, but you have to accept it. Scoring and assisting is the best part of soccer. As an offensive player, it’s what I enjoy the most. Of course, it’s important there are other important parts of football as well. And you can’t say that when you haven’t scored you’ve had a bad game. Sometimes it’s different, and people don’t see it, because a lot of people just look at Instagram, see the result, which you haven’t marked and then they don’t care. But if you watch the game well, you can tell if you played well or if you played badly.

    Q. Karim Benzema has said similar things. He complained that until a few years ago his game was not understood by him or his father, who only required him to shoot and score. Who understands you?

    R. I can say the same about my brother. I think he understands me quite well now, but many players have the same problem. Benzema talked about it. I play because I enjoy the sport and I enjoy the competition. My grandfather taught me to play soccer, my father taught me. Now, sometimes I am in the field and I remember when I was a child. So I don’t put too much pressure on myself, I just enjoy football. And of course, if you mark it’s fine. It was always a dream for me to play in stadiums, now in the World Cup. After my career, when I’m 40 or 45 I’m going to say maybe I’m not happy because I didn’t enjoy every moment, so I try to say, no, enjoy it and have fun playing. In the end the goals and assists will come.

    I love Benzema’s style. When you’re a striker, you want to be like him, because he’s not your typical striker. He is so fine. I really enjoy how he plays. I watch videos of him and try to do a lot of things that he does

    Q. That way of seeing it is more common in the most veteran.

    R. Maybe the goal in the Champions League, the goal in the Club World Cup and winning the European Super Cup gave me confidence and said: “You’ve won three great titles already, so just enjoy the moment.” Of course, it’s not always easy, because you see a lot of things on social media, in the press, talking about you, so it’s not always easy to take the pressure off.

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    Q. As a child, who did you look up to?

    R. I grew up when the big names were Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Zidane… But these people were so far away… they were the best in football. As a child, he was very short, he had very fast movements and he told me: “I want to be like Messi”, because he was also short. But then, at 13 or 14, I grew a lot, so my style of football had to adapt, and I changed. But when you’re a professional, you just want something of your own. Don’t compare yourself to others. Of course, you have your idols, and you want to imitate them, you look for their tricks on YouTube. But in the end you want to do something of your own. And I want kids to watch my videos and want to be like me, like I did.

    Q. Who are you looking at now?

    R. Now I am in a moment in which sometimes I play nine, sometimes I play ten, and I love Benzema’s style. When you’re a striker, you want to be like him, because he’s not your typical striker. He wants to have the ball, make a wall, maybe dribble, whatever comes to mind. He is so fine and so nice with the ball. I really enjoy how he plays. I’m watching a lot of his videos now and I try to do a lot of things that he does at Madrid. I have played several matches against him and I saw the qualities that he has, and what he enjoys playing as well.

    Q. Spaces are very important and scarce in the area where he plays. What is more difficult, finding them or creating them?

    R. In modern football, you have to have a bit of both. Of course, I enjoy more finding the space and receiving the ball, because if you create the space you just have to run and in the end you don’t get the ball. And I am a player who likes to receive the ball in small spaces. But from a team perspective, I think creating space is sometimes much more difficult to create, because you see a lot of players who always come to receive at the foot. You have to have a bit of both, especially in England where defenders come from behind. You have to make it difficult for them, so they don’t know if you’re going to go behind their back, or you’re going to receive short.

    Q. On Sunday they play against Spain, where Cesar Azpilicueta is, a Chelsea teammate, with whom he seems to have a special connection.

    R. I have a very good relationship with him. When I arrived at Chelsea, which was tough, he was the first to send me a message: “Anything you need, give me a touch, here I am, welcome to the team.” He was the first one I had contact with.

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    Q. Have they talked about the game?

    R. Yes, because he itches me. We are going to make it hard. I can’t come home and say, “You beat us.” We are going to win, we will try to do our best.

    Kroos has been criticized in Germany, because people see the passes he gives, which are easy for them, but for me he’s one of the best I’ve ever played with.

    Q. In recent years there have been several Spain-Germany in which they have not done very well. What memories do you have, for example, of the Euro 2008 final?

    R. Torres scored at the end. A tough day for Germany. Losing a final is always hard, but at that time for me Spain was the best team in the world. He had so many good players, and they were all at their peak. For Germany it was good to reach the final and make it so disputed. I remember it because my brother and I, when we were little, liked Spanish football and its mentality, so when Spain played, and it wasn’t against Germany, we always went with Spain, we wanted Spain to win.

    Q. Do you still like Spanish football, the League?

    R. For me, the League is one of the best. I have experienced Germany, English football, but you can see how much quality the Spanish teams have. The players have a lot of technique, I like that style. They are also a player like that, and it is the football that I enjoy the most.

    Q. Will they miss Toni Kroos, who left the national team?

    R. To 100%. He’s so good… In Germany he’s had some criticism, because people see the passes he gives, which are easy for them, but for me he’s one of the best I’ve ever played with. And for me he was top when I came to the national team, he was there for me. He is a great player, a great man.

    Q. In Germany, what do you think of the saying that football is a sport invented by the English in which they play eleven against eleven and the Germans always win?

    R. I think maybe we had that ten years ago, but in the last few years maybe we lost it a bit, because the World Cup was not good, the Euro was not good, so now we are not at the top of our game. It would be nice if we got it back, and maybe we can start at the World Cup this year, and the phrase makes sense again.

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    Source: EL PAIS

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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