David Alaba, in GOAL: “Casemiro was in a similar situation to mine a year ago”

The Austrian player visits GOAL after starting his second season at Real Madrid

David Alaba this year faces its second season in the Real Madrid and the feeling is that the Austrian could be one of the best signings in the club’s history. The defender arrived on a free after completing his contract with Bayern Munich and in his first season was instrumental in winning the Spanish Super Cup, La Liga and the Champions League. He also managed to win the European Super Cup that year, in which he scored the first of two goals for Ancelotti’s side.

Ahead of UEFA Champions League debut against Celtic Glasgow, David Alaba attended GOAL to review his arrival at Real Madrid and some secrets of his life that were not known to the general public until now.

The interview

David Alaba, at FC Bayern you were known for your intense communication on the pitch. To what extent do you already do that at Real Madrid?

“I’ve been communicating a lot on the field since day one. It’s part of my game. That’s what’s required of me, but it’s also what I’m demanding of myself.”

What about the language?

“My field commands now work very well in Spanish. For the first few weeks, I went full throttle into my language lessons. It was very important for me to quickly learn the basics. I can have a good conversation with my teammates right now. But my Spanish probably isn’t good enough for an interview.”

Which player you’ve dealt with as a teammate or opponent in your career so far is the one you interact with the most on the field?

“Thomas Muller is there. Maybe Dante will come in. When I was defending on the left, he played next to me in the center of defense and led me very well. I learned a lot from him.”

Who gives the orders at Real but you?

“For us, this task is shared between several players: Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos take responsibility for communication.”

Modric and Kroos have long formed a midfield trio with Casemiro. What do you think of his Manchester United signing?

“He was in a similar situation to me a year ago. That’s why we talked a lot about it. After nine years at Real Madrid, he was looking for a new challenge. I wish him the best with all my heart.”

You worked for Carlo Ancelotti at FC Bayern a few years ago. How much has it changed since then?

“As a person and as a coach he is the same as he was then, he still represents the same values. His training and the way he plays football may have made a difference.”

How are Uli Hoenes and Florentino Perez alike?

“Both are great individuals who live for their club. Both want to be close to the team. Florentino Perez comes into the dressing room after every game and sometimes after training to talk to us players. Uli Hoenes did the same. It’s important who knows what the players are like.”

How close was your relationship with Hoenes?

“I came to Munich at the age of 16 and had a very special relationship with him from the beginning. He often called me into his office to give me advice or make requests. I remember how he once told me: “I want you to take more responsibility on the pitch and in the dressing room”. I was always able to communicate very openly and honestly with him. Uli Hoeness helped me a lot as a person and as a footballer. He is a great inspiration for me.

How was the farewell last summer?

“After the last game I said goodbye to him and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in the living room of the stadium. After such a long and successful time together, it was naturally very emotional.”

His departure from FC Bayern was accompanied by another uproar; recently sports director Hasan Salihamidzic admitted mistakes in his relationship with you. Have you contacted him recently?

“No, we haven’t had any contact now. Everything is fine between me and Bayern. I always prefer to look forward rather than look back.

In addition to Pini Zahavi, your father George also advises you. How did the tumultuous timing of his failed contract extension with FC Bayern and his move to Real affect your relationship with him?

“I have a very close relationship with my father. We are in contact every day. It helps me a lot to keep my mind free for the most important thing: football.”

Do you also talk to him about your football achievements?

“Since I was 17, he’s been to all my home games. After every away game, he’s the first person I call on the bus. Then we talk about my game and he gives me his honest opinion. The next day he sends me any statistics, which we then discuss in detail.

Your father was a musician, your sister Rose May is a singer. What was the role of music in your childhood?

“I grew up with music. She is a very important part of my family. When I was a kid we had music on all the time. CDs, records. Whether it was on the floor or in the car: music, music, music. And they all sang together..

Have you considered a career as a singer?

“I dreamed of a singing career, but I realized fairly quickly that it wasn’t going to happen. But just like music, I’ve loved football since the beginning.”

Do you play instruments?

“My parents tried me on piano and guitar. But my sister obviously has all the talents in the family for that.”

Can you still play songs with both instruments?

— Yes, one on guitar and two on piano.

Did you attend your father’s shows as a child?

“Often. Sometimes backstage, sometimes on the side of the stage, sometimes in the front row in the audience. The memories are etched in my mind. His performance at Donauinselfest in Vienna was very special. It was crazy to me how many people looked at my father.”

What music are you listening to today?

“Mostly hip-hop, R’n’B and Christian worship music.”

Who is the DJ in the Real Madrid dressing room? And what kind of music is playing there?

“Karim Benzema. He plays all kinds of music.”

Together with her sister, she opened the restaurant DaRose in Vienna. How did it appear?

“My parents knew I wanted to try gastronomy. At that time my parents approached me with an idea and I really liked it. So we decided together, as a family, to open a restaurant. We all really enjoyed it. When I go to Vienna, this restaurant is my first stop.”

He recently joined his hometown club, Vienna Austria, as part of “Viola Investment GmbH – Friends of Austria”. What prompted you to do it?

“Austria Vienna is the club of my heart. I am very grateful to the club. It was clear to me that it would help in difficult times. I follow Austria intensively: I watch the matches and communicate with the people there.”

Do you see yourself returning to Austria in the future?

“It’s still a long way off for me. I’m not looking that far into the future. I still don’t know what’s going to happen in a few years or when my career is over.”

You are rumored to be a fan of Galatasaray Istanbul: Is it true?

“Yes, I have sympathy for Galatasaray. As a child I played every day in Vienna. I had many friends from Turkey there. There were exactly three options: Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce. I settled on Galatasaray very quickly. I don’t know I don’t remember why. I always watched the Istanbul derby together with my friends from Gala.”

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