In 2011 David de Gea joined Manchester United from Atletico Madrid. After two successful seasons with the first team for Atletico in which he helped the team win the Europa League, the clubs first major trophy in 50 years, the rumors of his move to United started becoming more and more common. After he assisted Spain win UEFA’s U21 European Championship, his transfer to United to replace the retiring Edwin van der Sar was completed.
David de Gea made United history in becoming the first player to win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year three times in a row.
United’s no.1 keeper signed a four-year contract in the beginning of the 2014/2015 season with an option to extend for a further year. The signing of this contract came after the excitement of the final day of the 2015 transfer win in which Dave’s transfer to Madrid was halted by a faulty fax machine.
Interview with Lukas Podolski about Bastian Schweinsteiger (3. August 2016)
I translated the interview for all non-German-speakers (sorry for my mistakes!) ENJOY :)
Mr. Podolski, as Bastian
Schweinsteiger announced his retirement, you posted „brother, best
friend, teammate, roommate and world champion“ on Facebook. More
than that is not possible, is it?
Lukas: Both of us were united by twelve
beautiful and successful years. And the invitation to his wedding in
Venedig showed me that we are more than just teammates. This was an
invitation to a friend and that`s the reason why it means so much for
me. So it was very important for me to take part together with my
wife, despite of the birth of our daughter and the long European
You also thanked Schweinsteiger for
being part of the legendary world champion – selfie in the
Macarana-Stadium. Why is this photo so special for you?
Lukas: Schweini and I have been working
for over 10 years to hold this trophy in our hand. I remember that my
son, who came on the pitch after the final whistle, had got to go to
the loo. I took my phone and went down with him to the cabin. After
we were coming back through the tunnel, Schweini stood in front of me
with the trophy. I collared him and we made the first selfie of a
worldchampion from Rio, that went around the world.
The world cup title was the peak of
your common career. Do you remember your first encounter with
Lukas: That must have been in 2004
during the U21-European-Championship in Germany. Uli Stielike invited
us, but during the tournament the manager Rudi Völler nominated us.
I remember that Basti and I were chauffeured to the A-national team
together. That was indeed very exciting for us. We were allowed to
celebrate our debut during the test match against Hungary. Basti was
brought on after the half time. I was brought on after 70 minutes.
After just one appearance, we were suddenly in the squad for the
European Championship in Portugal. That was the beginning of two
German nationalteam careers that should outlast more than 100
international matches in each case.
Together you challenged 4 european
and 3 world championships. How was it to join up with the national
Lukas: There was no youth mania like
today. Together with Lahm, Schweini and me were the youngest in the
squad by far. Back then the respect for the experienced pros was very
big. Big names like Kahn, Ballack or Schneider walked around in the
quartier. During the training, it was self-evident for Schweini and
me that we cleared up the balls and cones. But we didn’t get this
European Championship ticket because we were this young. We got the
chance when we were 18 years old and we took it. We were just good –
and we are still good today.
The European Championship 2004 ended
disappointing with an elimination in the first round. Völler
retired, Klinsmann and Löw took over. It was the beginning of an era
that triggered a „Poldi and Schweini“ hype.
Lukas: Can’t be said otherwise, it was
a very big hype around us. From the Confed Cup on it was awesome.
After that I can’t remember any other player of the national team
experiencing this. This was not only continuing during the Worldcup
2006 in Germany. Also during the travel to Asia with FC Bayern
München, Schweini and I wondered how mad they were even there on us.
We totally enjoyed it. But we didn’t bask in the hype’s favour, we
payed it back with performance, goals and assists.
What was the secret of success of
Lukas: We just conveyed the joy we have
when we play football. Before that, the success of the German
National Team was defined by fight and commitment. We also showed
these german virtues but we let the fans feel: successful football
can also make fun! Maybe the nationalteam needed exactly this at that
You had also fun after winning the
world cup when you were both kissing the pop star Rihanna. How did it
Lukas: Schweini and I were standing
there together with other players when Rihanna shouted to us. We
shall kiss her left and right on her cheek. Rihanna is just 2 or 3
years younger than us. Obviously she didn’t miss the „Poldi and
Schweini“ hype since 2004.
The European Championship was a
rather hard tournament for both of you.
Lukas: Obviously the tournament in
France was neither easy for Schweini nor was it for me. We both
played very little time. The decision was definetly not easy for Jogi
Löw, he never had so many good players before in the squad. From all
our tournaments the European Championship was the one we both
expected more of. We even shared this experience. I will miss
Schweini very much.
Who would be the suitable successor
for Bastian as the captain?
During the European Championship, Jogi
Löw appointed Manuel Neuer as substitute of Schweini, so it would be
consecutive if he becomes the new captain. But only Jogi Löw will
make this decision.
How would a national team look like
without you and Bastian Schweinsteiger?
Under-21 European Championships 2017 scouting report: Transfer targets and ones to watch
The U21 European Championships get underway on Friday, with much of Europe’s best young talent set to put themselves in the shop window in Poland.
The likes of Luis Figo, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo, Petr Cech and Thiago Alcantara have won the competition’s Golden Player award in the past and there can be little doubt that some players will be taking the first steps in what will become special careers at the top level.
We have looked at each of the 12 squads and have selected a player from each nation who we think could light up the tournament and have plenty of suitors come the beginning of July.
Poland | Dawid Kownacki, Lech Poznan
The comparisons with former Lech striking prodigy Robert Lewandowski may seem obvious, but they do not look misplaced. This 20-year old striker has an eye for goal, scoring nine times in the Ekstraklasa last season, and has been labelled a “one-off” by former Lech striker Piotr Reiss.
Slovakia | Laszlo Benes, Borussia Monchengladbach
Benes may have only joined Borussia Monchengladbach last summer, but much is expected of the 19-year old midfielder. He didn’t make his Bundesliga debut until 19th March, but scored the winner in a phenomenal display against Hertha Berlin in his first start.
Slovakians have made comparisons with Marek Hamsik due to Benes’ strong dribbling and shooting ability. The next 12 months will be big for the midfielder, and it would be no surprise to see him turn heads in Poland.
Sweden | Joel Asoro, Sunderland
Not a great deal is known of this 18-year old forward, but he has recently been linked with a move to Arsenal in the local press. He is banned for Sweden’s opening fixture against England in Poland, but will be hoping he gets an opportunity to show Arsenal fans why Arsene Wenger is after him.
Asoro already has Premier League experience, having come on as a substitute for Duncan Watmore against Middlesbrough last August, and becoming the Black Cats’ youngest player. Having been relegated last season Sunderland will be looking to cash in on the youngster so a few goals here would not go amiss.
England | Ben Chilwell, Leicester City
Attacking left-back Chilwell was one of the shining lights in Leicester’s difficult Premier League title defence last season. Craig Shakespeare’s promotion to manager after Claudio Ranieri’s sacking saw him get more of a chance in the team, and he often caught the eye with his energetic runs down the flank.
After bursting onto the scene there were rumours of interest from Liverpool and, whilst the Foxes will be keen to keep hold of their young English star, most of the Premier League’s big hitters are lacking quality in his position.
Macedonia | Elif Elmas, Robotnichki
Macedonia are the outsiders for the whole competition, but they have high hopes for attacking midfielder Elmas. He is just 17-years of age, but has already made his full international debut when coming on at half-time against Spain in a World Cup Qualifier.
He scored six goals in the Macedonian top flight last term and holds the future hopes of his nation upon his shoulders. He has signed a contract to move to Heerenveen when he turns 18 in September, but will already have loftier ambitions than the Eredivisie club.
Portugal | Renato Sanches, Bayern Munich
The wonderkid burst onto the scene in last years’ European Championships as his native Portugal lifted the trophy, and Bayern Munich parted with an initial €35million, which could rise to €85million in later instalments.
His first season in Bavaria saw Sanches used sparingly and mostly off the bench, so there are now rumours that Bayern are looking to cut their losses on the 19-year old. Manchester United and Barcelona have been linked, and Sanches will now have to prove that he is still the prodigious talent that wowed the continent last year.
Serbia | Uros Durdevic, Partizan
Durdevic is an out-and-out goal scorer whose 24 goals fired Partizan to the Serbian Super Liga title last season. He has already had a chance in Serie A, moving to Palermo in 2015 (pictures), but struggled for form when not regularly playing.
His season Partizan has alerted much of Europe to his predatory talents, and he will be the man Serbia turn to for goals in this competition. Strikers come at a premium, and it is likely that his club will cash in on the 23-year old this summer.
Spain | Dani Ceballos, Real Betis
Liverpool are one of many clubs said to be after the Betis midfielder who is one of many immensely talented youngsters in the Spain squad. Most comfortable in central midfield, Ceballos is a versatile midfielder who can also operate wide or as a no.10.
He is technically very gifted, comfortable both dribbling with the ball and passing out from deep. He has been touted as a replacement for Isco at Real Madrid, and it seems likely that he will end up at the Bernabeu unless someone can beat them to his signature this summer.
Czech Republic | Jakub Jankto, Udinese
This classy midfielder has now proven himself in Serie A for Udinese and it looks only a matter of time until the 21-year old moves to pastures new. He scored five goals and picked up four assists last season and has built a reputation for his outstanding dead-ball ability.
He possesses a thunderous left-foot and has the engine to be a driving force in midfield. Udinese will be hoping their talented youngster is kept as something of a secret, but with Arsenal already sniffing around this is seemingly unlikely.
Denmark | Marcus Ingvartsen, FC Nordsjælland
The marksman has recently been linked to both Arsenal and Everton having scored 23 goals in 35 appearances in the Danish Superligaen last season. The 21-year-old has a blistering turn of pace as well as an eye for goal and can hold himself physically at aver 6ft 1in.
He has 8 in 8 for the U21s, so a good campaign for the Danes will likely rely on Ingvartsen’s scoring form, and he is in fine fettle with 9 in his last 10 for his club. It will be impossible for clubs to ignore him should he continue this blistering form.
Germany | Max Meyer, Schalke 04
The Tottenham target is expected to leave Schalke this summer, with the club keen to cash in before his contract expires next year. The 20-year old attacking midfielder can play through the middle or off the left-hand side, but endured a somewhat disappointing Bundesliga campaign.
In 2015/16, however, he notched five goals and six assists when a teenager to attract attention from across Europe. He will be hoping to use this tournament to showcase his talents.
Italy | Andrea Conti, Atalanta
This right wing-back has been rumoured to have been sounded out by Antonio Conte as the perfect replacement for Victory Moses in Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation and looks set to be one of the stars of this year’s tournament.
Eight goals and four assists is an impressive return from a reserved role on the right, and Conti also has a reputation for being very diligent defensively, with the raw pace to get back into position when caught further up the pitch.