Dortmund visit Etihad tomorrow in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. And Mateu Morey (Petra, Mallorca, March 2, 2000) insists that despite City starting as favorites, his team will have a chance. Partly because he has an ace up his sleeve: Haaland. The fashionable footballer in Europe. The Balearic side explains to Mundo Deportivo that success has not gone to his head and that he is only focused on doing a good job in this tie.
Have you left your muscle problems behind?
Fortunately I have put the injury behind me. These last few days I have trained normally with the rest of my teammates, I entered the list this weekend against Eintracht Frankfurt and I am prepared in case Terzic wants to give me the opportunity to play against City.
I imagine he would have been frustrated not to be in the Etihad.
Who is not excited about a date like this? I’m a footballer on nights like this and you can’t always play a Champions League quarter-final. It will be special.
It doesn’t seem like the best time to visit Manchester.
We know that City is the best team in the world but the Champions League is presented as an interesting incentive. An opportunity to show that Dortmund should not be underestimated. We traveled to Manchester with the intention of changing the dynamics.
Favre was fired and Marco Rose is known to arrive next year. Does it affect so much change?
The locker room is quiet. He does not get carried away by all that news. The replacement on the bench is scheduled for summer and by then footballers will arrive and leave. For now we are not too pending. The group is 200% to the death with Terzic and with their mind set on the Champions League tie.
Tell me about percentages. How much do you give Dortmund?
Anything can happen. I understand that people talk about the City starting as favorites and the statistics can endorse a small advantage but the Champions always have some surprises in store. This is 50% for each.
In Manchester they do not contemplate that the City is eliminated.
I guess it has to be his speech. Dortmund don’t want to say goodbye to Europe either, but the best way to speak is on the pitch.
What’s so special about Haaland?
He is the best striker in the world because every day he pretends to be a little bit better than the last. He has an innate ability to want to improve himself, and that makes him a different footballer from the rest. That dose of ambition is the main secret of his success.
And the confidence with which it is expressed.
A great footballer who is accompanied by confidence catapults him to another level. Hopefully Haaland never loses it.
Guardiola says that praise weakens. Who makes me keep my feet on the ground?
Another of Haaland’s virtues is that he has never believed himself better than the teammate next door. He always works to bring out his talent and has solidarity to sacrifice himself for the team. Play and play.
From the outside, he looks like a somewhat arrogant footballer. Is it just a mask?
I don’t think the word is arrogant. Against Sevilla he had that scuffle with Bono because first it was the goalkeeper who celebrated in his face having stopped the penalty. Luckily the shot had to be repeated and Haaland did not forgive. They are things that happen and that remain within the field of play. Haaland is a normal guy. I am not deceiving you. Success has not gone to his head.
Are Dortmund starting to look too small for you?
He has shown that he is one of the best footballers in the world but Dortmund are also one of the great teams at international level. It is a club that bets a lot for young people and we must not forget that it is barely 20 years old. He has a lot of career ahead of him. You are in the right place to grow.
Does it bother that Dortmund is a news epicenter only for Haaland?
It does not affect us. Be part of the business. It happens in Dortmund and in any other team. When a footballer stands out, the press usually talks about him. Now it’s Haaland’s turn. No problem. His performance justifies that everyone is aware of whatever he does.
Have you ever asked him about Barça …
Never. But neither for Barça nor for Madrid. We are friends. We talk about life. We comment on Bundesliga or Champions matches but nothing else. If he leaves it is a personal decision that he has to make with his people. I just hope you can stay with us much longer.
Guardiola distanced himself from his signing.
Goodness. City already has a great team, crowned with the best coach in the world.
What worries you about the City?
All. It has virtues in all its facets. In attack I will not discover anything new. Back, this year it has been a tremendously solid team. And we know they drown in pressure, but we are used to dealing with it in the Bundesliga.
Will Dortmund be behind the ball throughout the tie?
Falling back to go out on the backlash is an option. We have specialists to travel and we are comfortable in that sense but I think we also have arguments to discuss dominance at City at times.
From the outset it seems that they have much more to gain than to lose.
But this approach hides a conformist point. It seems like if we lose nothing happens. And we go to Manchester and wait for City in Dortmund ready to win.
Why do Dortmund attract so many promises?
Because the club has shown that it is committed to youth talent. That he is not afraid to make them play. And, on the other hand, it has a hobby and one of the most beautiful stadiums I have seen. Not having them at home is going to be complicated. Although we play with the same cards as City because they are not going to have them in the Etihad either.
Do you see Reinier with the capacity to return to Real Madrid?
At first it was difficult for him to adapt but little by little he has had more minutes and more confidence from the coach. Is a great player. I don’t know if he is at Real Madrid or not, but a promising future awaits him.
Jadon Sancho also left City. Is it scary to leave the house so soon?
I have always thought that in this life you have to be brave if you want to fulfill your dreams. If you stay in one place, you don’t know what could have happened. I always wanted to be a professional footballer and I enjoy this path. My father refers many times to Cruyff’s phrase: “The difficult thing is not to arrive but to stay.” I repeat it to myself often.
Jadon Sancho arrives in time to play in front of his ex?
I’m not going to reveal our letters to you. I have not talked with him. He had muscular problems against Gladbach but he was better these last training sessions. Hopefully it will be on time.
How do you say no to a Barça renewal offer?
We thought at the time that a change of scenery was better. I was not wrong. There were years, especially with Guardiola, that the quarry was practically part of the first team. Later it was difficult to trust the young people. That depends on the people in the club. But I am happy with my decision.
Has Barça not probed you again?
I have no idea. I don’t know if they have me on the radar or not. Now I only focus on Dortmund and being able to eliminate City.