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Manuel Akanji: “At certain moments, Haaland still leaves me speechless” & More Breaking News

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Manuel Akanji“At certain moments, Haaland still leaves me speechless”

Manuel Akanji has started well at Manchester City. He has a lot of confidence in the national team at the World Cup. 20 minutes spoke to the centre-back.

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Football Highlights

On the last day of the transfer window, Manuel Akanji joined Manchester City.

IMAGO/PA Images

The Nati star already has a good relationship with his teammates.

The Nati star already has a good relationship with his teammates.

Getty Images

Although the Winterthur native has been playing with Haaland for two years, the Norwegian keeps making him speechless.

Although the Winterthur native has been playing with Haaland for two years, the Norwegian keeps making him speechless.

REUTERS

  • Manuel Akanji recently joined Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund.

  • The central defender has arrived well on the island.

  • 20 minutes hit the Winterthurer when the national team gathered in Bad Ragaz.

Manuel Akanji, from the Dortmund stand in the starting XI of Manchester City – how turbulent were the last few days before your move?

I was in Dortmund four days before the end of the transfer and watched Bundesliga and Premier League games on TV. Then came the contact with Manchester City. From there everything went pretty fast.

The next important appointment followed shortly after the signature, right?

Yes, I flew back to Switzerland the very next day for the birth of my son. After two days we went back to England. I trained with the team for the first time on Monday. Then it was straight on to Seville, where I was allowed to make my debut in the Champions League.

From your home town of Wiesendangen to one of the biggest clubs in the world – do you sometimes have to pinch yourself?

Don’t back down, but of course it’s a huge step considering where I’m from. I am very proud of it and thankful for the support of my family and friends.

You are a player with a lot of self-confidence. Did you still have respect for this change?

We have a lot of good players. I know that it won’t be easy. I also don’t expect to play through every game for 90 minutes. But I want to make it as difficult as possible for the coach.

You have always said you would like to take on a new challenge. Were you relieved that it worked so shortly before the end of the transfer?

I never said I really wanted to change. I said I’d like to take the next step if it’s possible. This has often been misinterpreted.

Haven’t you ever had the feeling that you gambled?

You didn’t play any more roles in Dortmund before your move. How do you rate the way they treat you?

I don’t want to talk about it too much anymore. There are also some things that don’t need to be made public. It is a chapter that I would now like to put behind me.

If the move hadn’t worked, would you have had a future at Dortmund?

You have to ask those in charge. I continued to step on the gas in training. I think that quality always wins out in the end.

What qualities do you have?

I think I’m fast, physically strong and have a good play structure. A good friend recently told me that he sees my game anticipation as my greatest strength.

Are these qualities your coach Pep Guardiola wants you to have?

That stays between the two of us. (laughs)

Pep Guardiola publicly praised you after your first appearances. Is that particularly good?

What he tells me personally is much more important to me. That gives me extra self-confidence. He really sees everything on the pitch, but also looks at how the players behave off it.

Do you already have a special relationship with one of your new teammates?

At the beginning I talked a lot with Erling Haaland because we already know each other well. But I try to get to know all the players better. I’ve had long conversations with Nathan Aké, Jack Grealish and Ruben Dias.

You speak to Erling Haaland. Can’t believe what he’s showing right now, isn’t it?

In every interview I have to answer two or three questions about him. (laughs) You can see for yourself how many goals he has already scored.

Are you still amazed when he scores such spectacular goals as in the Champions League game against Dortmund?

I’ve seen so much with him in the two and a half years that it doesn’t surprise me much anymore. But at certain moments even I am speechless.

Haaland’s goal against his ex-club not only leaves fans speechless.

Let’s talk briefly about the national team. You’re a player who also deals with issues off the pitch. How do you feel about the World Cup in Qatar?

This is of course not an easy subject. The national team does certain things against things that are happening in this country. At the end of the day, I’m a team player and my job is to play football for Switzerland.

I read that your family will not be traveling to Qatar.

I’ve had conversations with my family. They would have liked to support me in such a big tournament. However, given the current situation in Qatar, they do not want to reconcile this with their conscience. Of course I respect that.

A sporting question at the end: What do you think the national team can do at the World Cup?

many. I can’t say whether it will be the quarter-finals again. But I think we’re capable of a lot.

The interview with Manuel Akanji was recorded during a media round in Bad Ragaz.

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