Have you always been a creator?
Yes, I’ve been a playmaker since my youth. I love to play the deciding pass and enjoy setting up goals – and scoring them myself. When I was a kid, my big idol was Zidane. I don’t have role models now, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are consistently playing on a high level. They haven’t become World Footballers of the Year for nothing.
Players of your kind, like Sneijder and Iniesta, are enjoying a resurgence...
Football is more physical than it used to be, but creativity hasn’t been lost. Football is a very physical and fast game, but smallerplayers can assert themselves. Look at Messi.
Is it tough being considered the ‘main man’ in a team at just 21?
I managed to cope very well. I enjoyed the trust of the managerial staff and the team. I don’t feel any pressure on the pitch. I simply love and enjoy playing football. The World Cup was an incredible experience – it’s the greatest thing for a footballer. The time in South Africa was unforgettable. We have a very young team with a great future and will be given another chance.
Any tips for budding young playmakers?
Talent alone is not enough. I can give the kids out there the following piece of advice: you have to work hard every single day and try to improve daily. I have to improve in every aspect. My biggest aim for the new season is to score more goals.
What are your goals for the future?
For every player it is something special to compete for the Champions League or win the World Cup. My personal goal is to become one of the best players in the world.
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