Stars share their thoughts on training at Aspire Zone
07 January 2019 – Doha, Qatar:
FC Bayern Munich stars Arjen Robben and Thiago Alcántara met Qatar-based media on Monday during their team’s 9th training camp at Aspire Zone. During the session they shared their perspectives on the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, the battle for the Bundesliga title and their much-anticipated upcoming fixture against Liverpool F. C. in the UEFA Champions League.
During the first session, Arjen Robben spoke to media for 15 minutes about how his team is now fully focused on narrowing the six-point gap with Borussia Dortmund.
He said: “We have a big challenge ahead. At the moment, we are six points behind, so we have to chase Dortmund. We proved ourselves in the last few games before the winter break. And, if we can continue like that and chase them, hopefully with the right amount of pressure, we can win the title. The thing we have to focus on is winning games.”
On his team’s much-anticipated encounter with Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, Robben said: “They are doing a great job this season. They reached the Champions League final last year, and they are still performing well this season. It will be a tough challenge. So, we must concentrate on our own game, work hard and try to improve as much as possible. If we have a good day and we play the way we want to play, I think we can make it a very difficult game for them.”
Following confirmation that he plans to retire from Bayern Munich at the end of this season, Arjen Robben revealed that some clubs have shown interest in signing him and said: “It’s nice to hear that clubs are interested. My future is still open, and I can go in a number of directions. But I’d like to wait to make a decision. I want to focus on the here and now, on getting fully fit and playing football. I will wait until the end of the season to make a decision. I am privileged and grateful that teams are showing their interest.”
Robben also had the opportunity on Monday to visit Dutch side PSV Eindhoven who were also training on the pitches at Aspire Zone.
Commenting on Wesley Sneijder’s performances with Qatar side Al-Gharafa and how he thinks Sneijder represents a positive role model for younger generations he said: “He is a good friend of mine and one of the best players I’ve ever played with. We have a lot of great memories of playing together since we were in the U-16 national team. He is a good friend on and off the pitch and I think very highly of him. He has great experience and can bring something special to a game. He has this amazing quality in his feet. He also sets a really good example for young players in terms of what you can achieve in your career if you believe in yourself and you are prepared to work hard.”
Commenting on the ongoing preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, Robben said: “It will be a great tournament hopefully. When a tournament is assigned to a country, everybody is hoping that it is going to be a great tournament. I believe that in the end, all previous World Cup tournaments were a big success. And in this way, I am confident that the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ will be the same as the others.”
During the second media session, Thiago Alcántara started the 15-minute chat with media by sharing his thoughts on his team’s training camp at Aspire Zone and said: “Three things attracted our team to Doha. The first is the facilities at Aspire. Secondly, the weather here is ideal. And thirdly the people are so hospitable – they welcomed us from the very first moment we arrived. We are very happy to be here.”
“We have a great time here. The facilities are fantastic, and we have everything we need for training, getting plenty of rest, eating healthy food and following a really healthy lifestyle to prepare us for the [second half] of the season.”
Commenting on his team’s upcoming game with Liverpool, Thiago said: “All big players want to play good matches. It will be a great one. We must prepare really well for the second half of the Bundesliga. I’m confident we can do very well.”
Thiago also expressed his views on Liverpool’s current performance in the English Premier League: “They play some of the best football in the world. They have clear ideas and good players and that’s the most important thing in football.”
On his experience playing different coaches at FC Bayern Munich, Thaigo said: “It has been different playing with each of the coaches that we have had – from Jupp Heynckes to Carlo Ancelotti and now with Niko Kovac, we are always learning. Niko wants us to learn more and wants us to give 100% every game. We are learning, and we are very happy with that.”
On Qatar’s preparations for 2022 FIFA World Cup, Thiago said:
“It will be awesome. Although we are a little bit away from the world cup itself, you can see all the facilities taking shape around the city. The pitches that we are training on [at Aspire Zone] are amongst the best I think I’ve ever trained on. I think Qatar will be ready for the World Cup. And I know that my own country will be ready for that moment too.”
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