David Alaba has been welcomed in at Real Madrid, giving an introductory press conference at Valdebebas on Wednesday. The Austrian explained why he decided to move from Bayern Munich to the Spanish capital and also discussed the fact that he will inherit Sergio Ramos’ No.4 shirt.
He told the media: “I wanted to take a next step in my career, to grow as a player and a person. There were various offers, but I always had clear that I wanted to come to Real Madrid. It’s a dream come true. This is the biggest club in the world. I think this is the challenge I was looking for. I’m excited to play in front of the fans. I’ve played at the Bernabéu a few times and the atmosphere was always amazing. So, I’m keen to play there with the Real Madrid shirt.”
That shirt will have the No.4 on it and Alaba was asked if he feels pressure at the challenge of replacing Ramos. He replied: “I spoke with the club about the shirt. They offered me it. I don’t think there was any other number available. I know what the number means for the club. It’s also something that motivates me a lot. It represents strength and leadership. I want to give me all for that number and shirt. I’m not here to compare myself with other players. I’m David Alaba and I’ll keep being David Alaba. I will try to be myself.”
When Alaba signed with the club, Ramos was still there. So, he was asked if he’d have liked to play with the Spaniard and for his thoughts about Raphaël Varane’s potential departure. On that, Alaba said: “Of course I’d have liked to coincide with [Ramos]. He has been a top-class player. I’d have enjoyed learning from him. [With Varane], he is an excellent defender too with great qualities.”
Even if he mostly spoke in German, Alaba briefly spoke some Spanish as he was presented and was asked how comfortable he feels with the language, saying: “I learned some phrases. We had a lot of Spanish players and coaches at Bayern Munich and you pick things up. I plan to learn as quickly as possible, to better communicate with my colleagues.”
Alaba’s thoughts on Ancelotti replacing Zidane
One of the more interesting comments Alaba made during his presentation was about this summer’s coaching switch, given that Zinedine Zidane was still the coach when agreed terms with Los Blancos. On the Frenchman’s departure and Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival, Alaba said: “I was sad that Zidane left. But, I was happy that Ancelotti took over. I know him from Munich and we have a great relationship. I have spoken to him today and it’s a great pleasure to work with him again. The decision of where I’ll play is down to the coach and I trust him. I’m very versatile and can play in various positions.”