Adidas launched their new ZNE Pulse collection in London this week, and when you've got Alvaro Morata, Gabriel Jesus, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ilkay Gundogan in the same house, you know that the Three Stripes are pulling strings.

The ZNE Pulse concept is built around preparation. Those pre-match moments when the player finds their focus and enters their game zone. Situations that these set of players know all too well, having had to deal with high pressure moments throughout their respective careers. It's the life of an elite athlete and a collection that they can relate to. As adidas paraded their new innovations in typically stylish fashion with a Premier League presence, we sat down for a quick chat with the boys on the week of their season returning.


Ilkay, how was your summer?

Great thanks. I had three weeks off. It wasn’t completely off as I had to train as well to keep progressing with my rehab. It was good to get away and get away from the gym for a bit and clear the mind. I had a nice time with family and friends, so I’m coming back feeling good.

Where did you go?

I’ve been busy. I’ve been to a lot of places. I started in Los Angeles with my friends, then I went to Las Vegas for three nights. From Vegas I flew to Turkey for a week where I went on a small trip around to see family and friends. After that, I came back to train for a few days, then I went to Moscow with adidas and I got to see a bit of the city too. I then came back again to train for a few days, then I went to Stockholm for three days in my time off, then we started officially with the team on July 10.

How was the rehab? You're close to being fit now...

Yeah it's gone well. The summer was about keeping at the level I was on. When I had three weeks off I wanted to return in the same condition as I was in when I left. I knew that I was going on the tour so that was no issue. I’ve been progressing well and now I’m at the stage were I can say I am training fully with team. It’s now about getting your confidence, getting used to full contact. There’s still a small way to go but I feel good and safe, and I can’t wait to get back to playing.

How was the tour in America?

We understand that there are marketing commitments for the players on a tour, but it’s also great for us as a team. You see every player nearly every hour and to spend that much time with everybody brings us all closer together. It’s the best way for new signings to come into the group. In Manchester, we train and then go home. On the tour, we train and then spend the rest of the day together, that’s the time when closer friendships are made.

You've got yourself a new apartment in Manchester city centre. How important is immersing yourself in the city?

For me it was very important. I’m totally new, in a new country, new people, new culture, so I wanted to spend the first two or three years in the centre of the city. I wanted to be central and that’s why I was looking for quite a long time for the right place. I’ve found one now and it’s great, I’m very close to the shops, restaurants and bars and everything is right next to me. I didn’t want to move out of the city and live in a big house on my own, or with my cousin that has moved to Manchester with me. Being away from everything didn’t appeal to me, I’d be bored. I was curious, I wanted to see everything that Manchester has and to connect with the city.

City are favourites to win the league this season. Agree with that?

I don’t look at other teams that much to be honest. Of course, I know what other teams have done in the summer but I don’t pay too much attention to them. We just have to focus on what we want to do. We’ve had a great pre-season and we feel like we’re ready. Last season we started so well, we won ten games in a row, but then we struggled a bit. The Premier League is a tough league, a lot of teams are uncomfortable to play against. We’ve recruited very well, the manager has more experience in the league and we’re looking forward to getting started.


Gabriel, you took to the Premier League very quickly last season. Do you ever experience pre-match nerves?

I’ve got a very relaxed personality. I’m normally just really happy to play football. I’m excited to play so I never really feel nerves. Just happiness!

Do you feel any pressure or expectation this season on the back of last season's success?

I don’t feel any pressure, I’m just happy to play. I’m always looking to do better but I’m very relaxed about the new season.

Do you feel any difference from those big Champions League nights compared to league games?

I see every game as the same. I want to win every game and enjoy myself. My mentality around football is very simple. I love to have fun on the pitch and when I'm happy I play very well. I like to help my teammates as much as I can and I don't ever feel different preparing for a lower key fixtures than I would for a final.


Alvaro. Chelsea, it's a big move. Did it take time to make the decision?

When I was playing in Spain I knew that if I was to change teams then it would be for a team in the Premier League. It’s the most exciting league in the world. So when Chelsea made their approach I'd already given it some thought and I was ready to make the move to England.

Every club you've played for has been successful. Do you bring a winning mentality?

I hope so. I’ve won trophies with Juventus and Real Madrid and I hope to do the same here in England. It’s difficult to retain any title, especially in the Premier League, so this season will be hard as there are a lot of teams who will think they can win it.

How do you focus ahead of high pressure games?

It’s different for different games. Even the Champions League Final is different to the semi final. You know in your body that you have to give your very best to win the game. I try not to overthink things but it's definitely hard not to think about an extra special fixture in the week before.

You've got a lot experience. Do you pass that on to younger players?

I always like to help younger players. I was lucky to be surrounded by experienced players when I was younger and I know what it means to hear encouraging words from an older player. Players like Sergio Ramos, Raul, Fernando Morientes were all great to me.

Tell us a couple of tracks on your pre-match playlist...

Nessun Dorma and The Gladiator soundtrack.


Ruben, Palace on loan. Is this your biggest season yet?

Yeah it’s a big season for me. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity for consistent game time and hopefully this is the season. Let’s see what happens…

How different has this pre season been compared to others?

Different club and training regimes. I don’t think my mindset is different, I was always working hard at Chelsea and mentally I was always ready to play, you had to be. Hopefully I get more of an opportunity to play here, that’s the idea of the loan, but my mindset stays the same.

You've got more chance of playing now. Does that change your pre-match preparations?

I suppose it does, not too much because I’d have to be ready for Chelsea. If I wasn’t ready and all of sudden I was thrown on then that wouldn’t have been good for me, so I always prepared as if I was going to play at Chelsea even if the chance of me getting on the pitch was very slim.

How did you feel before playing your first few games for Chelsea?

When I first joined the first team it was overwhelming. You looked around the changing rooms and saw Drogba, Lampard, Terry and other big stars and it can be intimidating, but you get used to that. It’s all part of your development and you remember that they were in your shoes once.

Do you get relaxed or fired up before a game?

I’m generally quite relaxed before a game. I think that matches my personality off the pitch too. I like to have a chat to people and not have my headphones on the entire time. For me, that’s how I perform best, when I’m relaxed.

Which players that you've played with are the most focused before a game?

Branislav Ivanovic. He’s got his headphones on, he doesn’t talk to anyone. He’s in his own zone, with his own routine and that obviously works for him.

Name us a track on your pre-match playlist...

Meek Mill - Wins and Losses

The adidas ZNE Pulse collection is available now from