Sami Khedira In Kicker

1 Jun

Lots of Sami news this week! Looks like he’s going to be well enough to play for Die Mannschaft on Friday which is wonderful. And soccergirl63 over at the International Sami Khedira Fan Page was kind enough to allow us to use her translation of Sami’s interview in Kicker magazine. Thanks so much!

Before we get to the interview, we would be remiss if we didn’t congratulate Sami’s little brother Rani. He’s been called up to the German national team for the first time!

He’ll be playing in the U17 World Cup in Mexico. The tournament kicks off June 20 with a match vs. Ecuador. Congratulations, Rani! Onward to the interview…

“We are definitely ready for the title”

Sami Khedira talks to kicker magazine about Real Madrid, the National Team and the EURO 2012

Sami Khedira had to just watch the rest of the season, after an injury had put him out of action. Currently, the midfielder from Real Madrid is in the German National Team. It is still necessary to take it easy, but there was time for a season summary and praise on Jose Mourinho …

kicker: Joachim Löw is hopeful, that you are going to be fit for the EURO qualifier against Austria on Friday. What do you think?

Sami Khedira:  I am confident and I am in the mood for playing these two important games after such a long break. But we must be very careful. A muscle injury involves many risks. I am now out of training for five weeks, with no ball at my feet. In the next days I have to wait and see, how the body reacts. You have to decide very carefully, what is reasonable and justifiable. And we will inform Real Madrid.”

kicker: José Mourinho surely wasn’t pleased, that you travelled to Frankfurt, to meet the National Team. What did he say to you before you left Madrid?

Sami Khedira:  Real Madrid was indeed worried. It’s completely normal that an employer is skeptical, when a player, who was injured the last five weeks, will now play in his National Team again. But there is good contact between Jogi Löw and José Mourinho. And one thing is clear: we will take no risk at all.

kicker: You got injured in the Copa del Rey final, when you won the title against Barcelona. How hard was it for you , watching helplessly your team-mates loosing all chances of another title against the big arch-rival in the Championship and the Champions League?

Sami Khedira:  Bitter, very bitter. I believe, that at that time I was just at my personal best this season. I had reached my optimum performance. Then, suddenly, I was pulled out from the top level and could not help the team anymore – the saddest moments of the season, which was actually very positive.

kicker: Positive for you or for Real Madrid?

Sami Khedira:  Both Real and me. We have not quite reached our high goals, but in my opinion played a good season.

kicker: Even though Real lost the Champions League semi-final in Barcelona?

Sami Khedira: In the semi-final we lost as the result of a red card that, in my view, was wrong. If we had played with 11 men against 11, we would not have lost the game.”

kicker: But in the Spanish Championship  you were without a chance.

Sami Khedira: The crucial matches we have not lost against the “big ones”, but in the away games against the supposedly small clubs. In contrast to us, Barcelona is a team, where the players are well attuned to each other. In the end, this probably made the difference. We had a rebuilding phase, with 6 new players, with a new coach, a new philosophy. This phase lies now behind us.

kicker: Has the Champions League shown, that Barcelona is this season the state of art?

Sami Khedira: Everyone agrees that Barcelona deserved to win the Champions League, but we don’t need to improve much to get to their level.

kicker: So is the Cup victory for you more than a consolation?

Sami Khedira: No doubt about it. I am proud to have won this title in my first year abroad, a title, which Real didn’t win for the last 18 years. But it is also obvious: The Champions League is something much bigger. So in the next season we have to be even greedier.”

kicker: Until your injury you have played 25 league games and 8 games in the Champions League. Do you think of yourself as a first-team regular player?

Sami Khedira: I would say so. When I was fit and at full strength I almost always played, and mostly good. The coach has confirmed this to me. I have found my role and in the second half of the season I could more and more develop. I am very happy with my personal balance sheet in my first year. And I am looking in the future with a good feeling, because I now know the automatisms. And of course, the goal must be to stay a regular.

kicker: With Nuri Sahin you get new competition. Is this signing not a vote of no confidence against you?

Sami Khedira: I do not agree. We started with 5 defensive midfielders in the season. Fernando Gago was injured the entire season. Mahamadou Diarra was sold in the winter. Stay Xabi Alonso, Lassana Diarra and me. Three defensive midfielders are not enough for the program with more than 60 competitive games. So it is the logical conclusion that you get more quality, especially when you can get this quality for relatively little money. For me, the signing of Nuri Sahin is not a devaluation of my person but a proof, that the club has high goals. And Nuri can help us to achieve these goals.

kicker: His signing and especially the signing of Hamit Altintop was heavily criticized in the Spanish public.

Sami Khedira:  The Spanish media expect “big names” at Real Madrid, but Mourinho won’t deliver. Last year he didn’t buy Steven Gerrard, but Mesut and me, no “big names” but players, that fitted in his puzzle. I can’t speak for Nuri and Hamit but from my experience I can say: When a coach like Mourinho wants these players, he has given them some thoughts, so they need not to worry about their reputation in the media.

kicker: Spain’s media can’t quite make friends with you and your playing style as well.

Sami Khedira:  It is irrelevant to me what the media think. The opinions expressed in the public vary from one extreme to another. I am positively mentioned in games, that teeters on the brink. And I usually get the bad reviews for clear victories. I really don’t have to jump around in front of the goal, when we are leading 8-0 against Getafe. Then I am still trying to do what is best for the team. This may not be as spectacular as the actions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut.

kicker: Does it bother you, that the work you are doing is less appreciated?

Sami Khedira:  I am cool with it and I can handle sports criticism. But it’s not ok, if it concerns more drastic things, like politics. If, for example, someone calls me, with regards to my Tunisian roots, a bomber or terrorist, then it is just disrespectful and below the belt. “

kicker: Back to the National Team. Shortly after the World Cup you have demanded to not only work towards the Qualifiers but also for the EURO itself. What’s the level of the National Team, one year before the EURO?

Sami Khedira:  We do very well. We have cultivated our game and there is a tremendous quality coming from the younger players: Schürrle, Grosskreutz, Schmelzer, Hummels, Reus and especially Götze. What a season for an 18 year old – great class. These are all good guys and the competition is doing us older players very good. No one leans back self-contented, because everyone wants to win the European title.

kicker: Is “Die Mannschaft” already strong enough for a revenge against Spain?

Sami Khedira:  We are definitely ready for the title. We have a good mix, we play for one year in that formation. If we continue like this, we can hold the cup in our hands.

So there you have it! Good interview. I’m surprised as hell that the interviewer didn’t touch on Sami’s “terrorist” comments. It’s shameful that someone would say something like that to him but as we know, apparently quite a few shameful things have been said to players in Spain. Anyhow, it’s so good to hear from Sami. Can’t wait to see him back out on the pitch!

One Response to “Sami Khedira In Kicker”

  1. shiggers June 2, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I was surprised he wasn’t asked to go into it as well. Sami is adorable–I hope it was more a theoretical than an actual event.

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