Creative Soccer Culture

In Conversation: David De Gea

Not short of media attention, his name is world known. A player looking to demolish each hurdle in his path, Manchester United's Carrington training complex is our destination where we sat down with the man to get to know him that little bit more.

Joining the adidas football party, securing an away draw at CSKA Moscow and now a Manchester derby impending, there's no rest for David De Gea and the United squad. Relentless drive at the elite level of the game, we talk music, memories and the future for one of the world's most dynamic between the sticks.

The life of a professional football player starts very young. Can you tell us some of your earliest memories between the sticks? 

I remember when I was very small the first thing I remember is practicing a lot with my dad, gradually all the time I spent training with my dad I just got better and better. It was then when I started to play more formally leading to where I am today.

What kind of sacrifices have you had to make along the way?

I think you have to make a lot of sacrifices from an early age; you don't tend to go out a lot with your mates and you spend less time with your family. Football obviously takes a huge amount of time out of your life growing up, but it is a huge privilege.

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Was it true you began out playing as a striker? Do you ever get itchy feet in wanting to get on the scoresheet?

[Laughs] I think it's best for everyone that I became a goalkeeper – I much prefer stopping them rather than scoring them these days. It is true though, I used to play and enjoy playing outfield very much so.

Many players have favourite boots that hold a lot of sentimental value. A keeper is unique in that there must be a lot of strong memories you hold with your gloves, do you have any trinkets that you hold onto with fond memories?

In terms of performance, I've always liked the gloves I'm using now – the adidas gloves. They fit me well so I have a good connection with them. In terms of memorabilia, I do hold onto gloves mainly – shirts too and match tickets. With Atletico Madrid when in finals in Spain, I kept the shirts, the gloves and the tickets from those games and it's been the same here at Manchester United too. I kept all of the things from my debut. Similarly, from big derby games like Liverpool and Manchester City, I have all the shirts from those matches too.

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How many pairs of gloves does a world class goalkeeper get through in a season?

It's hard to put a figure on it but in a season I get through a lot, I like the new feel to them and them retaining the strength, fresh out of the bag so I do get through quite a few.

Are there kits you enjoyed most from your childhood?

There's always shirts from childhood that remain long in the memory. Goalkeeper kits are unique in that they seem to have a licence to offer more shapes and colour. One that sticks out most is Schmeichel in the Champions League final from the Nou Camp in 1999. That kit I can remember really well. Such a bright green.

Do you think it would be nice if adidas made a red goalkeeper shirt one time so that you can play in the red of Manchester United too?

It would be great, I'd like that. But obviously it's normal that in goal we need to wear a different coloured kit, but I'd love to wear the red as a goalkeeper shirt – it would be fun.

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When it comes to style, you're giving the beard a good go – who do you think has the best beard in football?

Mine, naturally. There's loads though – Arda Turan for example – he's got a good beard.

If we put aside ability, who is the best player you have enjoyed playing the game with most? Are there any players you look forward to playing against most?

I'm lucky to have played with so many it is tough to say one. I couldn't put it down to just one. When you look at players I've played against though, I have a good friendship with Kun Aguero; he's a good mate so I like to play against him.

It's not often you find a player who is into bands like Slipknot and Slayer, can you tell us a bit more about your music tastes. Is rock music your main flavour?

Yeah, I enjoy it. Not only do I enjoy listening to it but it motivates me as well. I love my rock music – like you say, Slipknot – I like them a lot. It's the same for bands like System of a Down too, although I'd say Avenged Sevenfold are probably my favourite.

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Do you get the chance to go to many gigs?

Yeah, I do – if there are any bands I like coming to Manchester I get hold of some of the guys here and we go together. We try and go to concerts and gigs when we get the chance.

Manchester is a very cultured city. A great place in the UK. Have you been able to experience much of it's style and culture?

It's a cool place to live. As we sit here today, the suns out to even the weather is improving! I like it here in Manchester, the people are really respectful, they come up to me with a lot of respect and I appreciate that. It's a really nice place to live.

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Looking forward to big games and a big season ahead. How much are you anticipating the challenge ahead? What would you like to achieve over the next year?

I'm very excited about it, there are many rivals around us and we've got to do all we can to keep us towards the top of the table. Over the next year, football wise – winning something. From the European Championships with the national team to winning the league with United – it would be fantastic. I would love to win the Champions League one day – that would be great. We'll be giving it all our best shot this season but there are a lot of good teams in the competition so it will be tough.

David de Gea wears the adidas ACE Zones Pro gloves, available here.


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