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Dani Ceballos: “I had a chance to speak with Zidane and he told me he was following Arsenal’s games”

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The on loan midfielder gave an exclusive interview to MARCA during the Premier League break

Arsenal Training Session Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Dani Ceballos has finally returned to fitness after a injury to his tendon kept him out for about three months. He is now training with Arsenal in Dubai while the Premier League has their “winter break”. The midfielder is raring to go and gave an exclusive interview to Spanish sports publication, MARCA, where he talked about his goals for the season.

On recovering from his injury at Valdebebas: “The medical teams from Arsenal and Real Madrid agreed that the best thing for me to do was to recover in Madrid. I knew the language, the doctors, and the physios well, so it was best to recover in Madrid. I am very happy now, because I think it was the best decision. I was in Madrid for a month and a half until I eventually returned to London to do the final medical tests and see if all was cleared. From then on, I have been trying to regain my fitness levels and return to the group dynamic.

Interaction with teammates and Zidane while in Madrid: “ I spoke with Florentino Perez and Zidane. I have to be very grateful because they told me that I was a Real Madrid player and if I needed to return to recover, that it was not a problem. I knew that I could not coincide with the schedule of the first team, but if I ever bumped into any of them there was never a problem. I had the chance to speak to some teammates; everyone from the physios, to club workers, they all told me that they missed me because I am a sociable and friendly person and I am proud that they told me those things. I had the chance to say hello to the boss [Zidane] and he told me that he was following Arsenal’s games and that was a proud moment for me.”

Lessons learned at Arsenal: “I am learning a lot - a bit of everything. Any player in the world would like to play in the Premier League once before they retire. I am experiencing it as a young player. I’m a football lover and for someone who likes football, you have to play in the Premier League. It’s a league that is a bit more demanding physically than in Spain. It’s making big strides tactically and technically. Any team can beat anyone in the top six. it’s very competitive.

Experience with Unai Emery who was quoted by MARCA saying Ceballos is a “top player and has a very good mentality. He will go as far as he wants”: “Unai was key to me being at Arsenal. I went to play at a club like Arsenal because, apart from it’s stature as a big club, Unai practically came to my house to tell me that he loved me as a player, that he’s been in love with me since I played for Betis. The confidence of a coach is key to giving your best performance. Unai told me that I would important with him at Arsenal and I didn’t have any doubts about going there”

Change from Emery to Arteta: “I was f***ed on my part because I had never been injured and then annoyingly I got injured at a time when the team started to unravel a bit. I came out of the team when they were in fifth or sixth just a couple points off the CL spots. I was powerless and angry that I wasn’t able to help the boss and repay everything he had done for me.

Mikel is going to be a great coach. He has learned from Pep and has a style of play which I fit perfectly into. It’s true that he has come into a difficult situation for the club, but mentally he’s a coach that I think has what Arsenal need right now. Since I arrived back from injury, I have been working with him for two weeks and now is when I have to show him that I am able to play for Arsenal. After the break, I will be important”.

The interview ended with Ceballos stating that he did not intend to leave Arsenal in the winter window despite the many rumors. He is adamant about returning to fitness and recovering his starting position. He wants to be ready for Euro 2020 and repay the unrelenting faith that Luis Enrique has showed in him. At this time he is not focused on a return to Real Madrid, but rather finishing out the year strong with Arsenal and playing well in the European Championships this summer.