Carrying the torch of the Nike Tiempo into a new era, we recently sat down with 22-year-old Berliner Antonio Rüdiger. After making his German national team debut in 2014, followed by a summer move from VfB Stuttgart to Serie A outfit AS Roma, we chatted to the fearsome centre back who is making a fast rise to the top.

What was the first moment you had when you first fell in love with football?

"When I first fell in love with football I was five-years-old. That's really when I started playing football. I think that's actually quite old because I think most kids start playing when they are three or four. But for me, when I was five that's when I first realised how fun the game is."

Was there something that caught your imagination?

"There was always a game going on where I lived. The people around me and my friends, it was always football, football, football. Some of the boys were older and I just went down there and thought I'd see if I could play and join in with them. So I said, OK let's go and from there it was the game for me."

You're a football fan just as much as you are a player. Do you feel like you're living a dream right now?

"When I take time and think about it, it's a little crazy. To think how my life has changed and the effect that football has had and in such a positive way, I am always thankful of that. Even when I think about the things we get given from sponsors like Nike for example, it's not normal for me and my world and the place I come from. I am always grateful for this opportunity."

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Still, it takes a hell of a lot of work to get to the top, what has driven you to where you are now?

"First of all you need discipline, you need a strong background. The people that keep you focused are so important. Most of all you need dreams, without them, you won't achieve."

Are there any players you've dreamed of playing against?

"I just want to play against good players, I want to put myself against the best and I think that's the only way I can develop. I'm incredibly lucky to have already played against many great players and I can keep dreaming of more of the same because I like the competition."

Is development something you have at the forefront of your mind?

"Yes, definitely, I'm a young player and look up to players like Jerome Boateng. Three years ago, people were saying 'oh he's no good' but he was young and look at him now. It's all about development and gaining experience. With each game you get that little bit more experience and that's something he used and has become one of the best center back defenders. That doesn't mean I will necessarily go the same way as him because I have my own style but the way he goes and carries himself, it's something I can look up to."

You mentioned already about working with the Nike. Would you call yourself a fan boy?

"Yeah, both. I know that because I am a football player there are young people looking up to me so I'm conscious that I have to represent myself and the brand well. Going back though, when I was young, growing up I loved Nike. I loved Air Max and Air Force One and I always wanted some. At that age though, my parents didn't have much money to buy me those type of things, and now, getting them for free, it's like I said, something I'm incredibly lucky to have."

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What does style mean to you?

"I'm an easy guy, I'm always walking around with jogging pants – this is me. I'm not the one who wears a suit to look good. When I wake up, I have to be in the locker room at nine o'clock so what should I wear? Jeans or something? No. I like to feel comfortable wherever I am and to look good at the same time is something I try to do."

What about your position on the pitch and the view you have. You can see the game unfold. Is that something you enjoy?

"Yes of course, some positions are more difficult than mine but I love it because I can see the game unfolding but I am also the first person to start the play from the goalkeeper. You have everything in front of you and it's perfect for me. I like it."

As soon as you cross that line, many say they can block out the surroundings. Do you ever look up and take them in?

"No to be honest for me it's the same. As soon as I get on the pitch my focus is completely on the game and football and I can take my mind off things that happen in every day life and can take your mind off any stresses. When I'm on the pitch I'm happy – I don't think about anything else. The fans are great, but for me it's all about the game."

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Can you describe what it's like out there?

"When I played my first Champions League game as an example. Normally before a game I am never really nervous but that was one time when I did feel the nerves. I tried not to show that and it worked. It's an amazing feeling, really incredible. I've heard people say that words cannot describe this and I agree, you just have to feel it."

Do you think you have the ability to see things before they happen on the pitch?

"I think the players who have that are the players who have more experience. I'm only twenty two so I'm still learning but for sure I can read some players and do my best. I'd say in general, young players don't have that ability but players like Jerome Boateng, Nesta, Maldini – they have this ability because they were the best and have so much experience. At twenty two you're still gaining the experience."

When you think back to football boots, do you have an emotional connection?

"There's one site on Instagram. A guy who sells old boots, I think he's from England actually – I watch that because I do love old boots. It's nice to see. I have a lot of football shoes at home and if they fit on my feet I'll wear them on the training ground. It's nice and means a lot to me, there's stories there. It's nice because with every pair of boots you can tell and create a story so it's good and I like it a lot."