Unveiling fresh retro inspired threads, Bayern Munich and adidas are closing the season with momentum. Speaking to a playmaker with a creative edge, we sat down with David Alaba. A big achiever who performs game after game, there's a lot of pride in the shirt he wears.
Let’s start at the top - you've been at Bayern Munich for nine years now. What does the club mean to you?
"Well, it means a lot to me. I grew up here. I came here in 2008, moved from Vienna at 16 years old and now I’m living my dream so it’s almost ten years and it means everything to me, you know?"
You moved to Munich when you were 16. What was it like moving to a new city/country at such a young age?
"Yeah, I was born and raised in Vienna but coming here at the age of 16 and having been here ever since, it’s like a second home now. The first time you go anywhere new I think it’s normal to be a little nervous. You’ve got to meet new people and get to know a new city but the club and the people here at Bayern made the whole thing very easy for me. It’s something I’m forever grateful for when I think back today."
They made you feel welcome and brought you in, what can you remember from the early days here?
"I think for the first one or two years I had a little bit of homesickness which is normal but my friends and family would come and visit me a lot - I’m not all that far away from Vienna and because they made me feel welcome here I settled in well."
You must have a lot of pride representing the people of Munich for so long?
"Yeah. For sure. It means a lot to be and it’s a big honour to play for a club like this. Bayern Munich are one of the biggest clubs in the world so I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to get on the pitch in front of so many people. It’s incredible in this stadium."
Bayern Munich are known for having some of the best looking football kits in football. For you personally, what features do you like to see in a football jersey?
"Well, red is a really good colour. It’s our colour. I think every year the shirts that come out are pretty special and hopefully it stays this way and I can keep wearing them in the future. The first shirt I wore when I played my first game here is one I think back to but I think every shirt has something important to it. There’s a years worth of work that goes into making it so for that reason each shirt is important for me. Every year I’m getting one year older and growing up as a player and a person so every year I like to look at them as another year in my life. Another memory."
What about the new jersey - are you into it?
“Yeah I like it. It’s a little bit old school which I like. Big stripes are cool. It feels comfortable too ― very light. You can feel the difference compared to years back.”
Do you have a collection of shirts that you’ve worn or swapped with players throughout your career?
"Yeah, I keep every single jersey which I swap with players. I’ve got a big collection at home. My mum washes them and looks after them for me. I’ve swapped jerseys with a lot of players and also team mates like Frank Ribery for example. Also when I play for Austria against someone like Germany - there are a lot of big players that I’ve been lucky to swap shirts with. Ze Roberto was one of my favourite players when he was over here at Bayern Munich and I had the opportunity to play against him when he was playing for Hamburg. I’m really proud of that one."
You've worn the number 27 shirt throughout your career at Bayern. Why is that?
"When I came up to the first team, the number I loved before was always the number 7 but there’s a French guy over here who already had it [laughs], and the number 17 was worn by Mark van Bommel but the next number with a 7, the 27 was free so I took that one and stuck with that."
You've won 6 Bundesliga titles already. Many players would be thinking about moving on and perhaps try to win a different league. What has made you stay here so long? You've signed a new contract until 2021.
"First of all maybe it’s the love for the place. I love this club and I feel very special here. Like I said before, it’s like my second home here. It’s not a secret that the club is one of the biggest in the world so I like having the honour of playing here. I have a lot of goals and aims with this club that I want to achieve together so that’s what I want to do."
Your hard work rate in every game is a reason that you've remained at the club for a long time. What sort of player wouldn't make it at this club?
"How important is the right attitude? I think I’m blessed with a talent from god but that’s not enough I guess. You have to put a lot of hard work into it - every single day. You’ve got to believe in yourself but stay humble and the rest will look after itself."
What's like playing with such high expectation in every single game you play? You're never the underdog.
"Yeah of course, you can feel the pressure here because you want to win every single game and so does the opponent. Every single week someone wants to beat Bayern but those are the expectations you have to go against. It’s our own expectation to win our games too but I we’re all professional athletes who are used to that."
Want it? Get the adidas FC Bayern Munich 2017/18 Home Shirt here.