Dani Olmo's departure to Leipzig did not prevent his surname from continuing to be linked to Dinamo Zagreb. Carlos (Terrassa, 1996), his older brother, is still linked to the largest club in Croatia, in whose affiliate he has played since last summer. The Egarense midfielder has attended AS since his confinement in Zagreb, where just a few days ago he suffered an earthquake. “I live up to my last name,” he says.
How did your arrival at Dinamo Zagreb take place? Was it because his brother was playing there?
Not really. I had already played in Craocia – for Dragovoljac in the 2015/16 season – and they had seen me. He had even trained with Dinamo during the injury recovery phase. They knew me and contacted me to propose to play with the subsidiary. As my brother played in the first team we agreed very quickly.
Both you and Dani must have been proud to meet in Zagreb.
Totally. It was an honor for me to belong to the same club as my brother Dani. It was a pity that we could not coincide in any training because I got to go to the first team, but it was during some break of selections. I also went to Bosnia to play a couple of friendlies. I was left with a bitter taste for not being able to train with Dani, it would have been very great.
They would get fed up of playing together when they were little. It would even teach him how to get his first touches on the ball.
Of course, when Dani still couldn't stand up, we were already playing soccer together. I put it on the floor and we passed the ball. I always wanted to play with him and he with me. And with my father, of course.
Did your father teach you and you were the one who taught Dani?
That's how it went. My father started playing with me and when Dani was able he joined us. At first we taught him and now he is the one who teaches us.
How important has your father been in your life and football career?
My father has always been the greatest influence I have had in making decisions, both in football and in life. It's always been the last one I've listened to. He has never made any decisions for me, but he has advised me to the end and helped me improve as a footballer. Both Dani and I say: 'Whatever you choose, I will be with you and I will help you in any way I can.' It has always been a very important support. Now, with my brother's departure for Germany, too. He was pending if he wanted to go to Leipzig or preferred to study another possibility. He has always advised her, but the one who decided was Dani.
Is it pressure that your last name is Olmo?
Being the brother of Dani Olmo has neither benefited nor harmed me, I have always been one more. Although I know the phrase 'look, Dani Olmo's brother' in Croatian. But it is normal, I am proud that they recognize for being their brother and I think that, up to now, I am living up to my last name. People hearing that he was coming to Dinamo Zagreb were waiting to see what kind of footballer he was. They were waiting to see if it was up to scratch and the criticism I have received so far has been quite positive. When I have played I have been told that I have done quite well, although I have done little because I partially torn two ligaments of the ankle …
How do you feel when you see Dani play with Spain or compete in the Champions League? Did you expect it to reach that level?
It is a pride to see my brother play with the Spanish team. Seeing him enjoy in the Bundesliga or playing Champions League is a pride, it fills me with happiness. But it is something that has been worked since childhood. He has always been very clear that he wanted to be a footballer and he has succeeded. I am sure that at a soccer level he will do something very great. He is working for that and I am sure he will get it.
They are different profiles and could complement each other in the field.
Yes, Dani started playing forward or winger. He can still play in those demarcations, but his most common position is inside, at '10'. In the end we both ended up playing in the midfield, although my profile is more defensive and game-making. I would love to be able to play with him because we would understand each other quite well. Dani loves to play between the lines and I really like looking for that pass. By how he moves and being brothers we would have a great time. It would be a dream come true.
They have not faced each other, what would it be like to play against him?
I have always had the bug of what it would be like to play against Dani because I would have to defend him and it would not be easy for him. The reality is, right now, he's on another level. He is in Leipzig, which plays in the Bundesliga and is classified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League. They are older words but of course, he is my brother and I know him very well. I know that if I played against him it would be difficult for him to beat me.
Where they are measured is at the Play Station.
Forever. We play FIFA and Fornite. He is better at FIFA, but he has nothing to do in Fornite. It saves you that we always play as a couple and take the opportunity to talk. Normal between siblings who live apart. He just spoke to me to play some games at the Fornite. He wants to eat me up, but he has it complicated. When we play together we make a good team. We understand each other well even on the Play.
How does it take to be away from your brother?
All right. I am happy because Dani has taken a very important step. He needed to make the move to one of the great European leagues. I am very excited about the project that they have offered him in Leipzig and I hope that he will soon begin to have the minutes that he lacked at the beginning of the second part of the season. I think he deserves it. I will continue to work hard in Zagreb. I just recovered from an ankle injury and I also couldn't play as much as I would have liked this course. I hope the quarantine ends soon because I have a crazy desire to touch a ball.
Her family has had to experience the health crisis separately. Your father and brother in Germany, your father in Spain and you in Croatia. How do they carry it?
The situation we have had to live in is not pleasant. My mother is in Barcelona and she is not having a good time, and my brother and father are in Germany. I am alone in Zagreb. And last but not least, we have just suffered an earthquake. But we carry it as best we can. It's time to wait and stay home, which is very important. We always call each other, I talk to my brother every day to see what he does. I am locked up all day and if I don't do those things I will end up going crazy.
How did the earthquake live?
There were several. The first was at six in the morning. I was sleeping and I didn't notice it. The second was at quarter past seven. That's when I realized it. I woke up and everything was shaking. At first I stayed in bed thinking, 'What is this?' My reaction was not to think that I was having an earthquake, but when it happened I picked up my cell phone and saw missed calls from my friends in Zagreb telling me to leave home from six. They asked me what I was doing, how I could continue sleeping after an earthquake. Seeing all those messages I put on the first thing I caught and went to a safe area. It was incredible. Luckily the building I live in is new and undamaged, but other old blocks in Zagreb have not been as lucky. There were landslides, roofs fell, stones in the cars … It was not pleasant. And less in the midst of a health crisis.
Has anyone you know been harmed?
I have a friend who has been affected quite a bit. To the point of not being able to be home because they are there, they may have to throw it away. It has suffered significant damage to the structure and it is not safe to be there. I hope the situation improves and everything goes super well. I am in contact with him, he tells me that within the bad he is fine, but the structure is seriously damaged and we are waiting for news.
What is your life like in Zagreb?
When there is no need to be at home I can lead a normal life in the morning, I train and I am on the club premises. Then as with a friend of the team and in the afternoon little. I study Croatian, I go to the gym and the little time I have free I come home. Here I watch TV, I talk to my parents, my brother or friends, I play Play or I go out for coffee. We also go to the center, that Zagreb is very beautiful.
He will be studying Croatian.
Yes, because I can speak to my teammates in English, but I think it is important that if I am playing in Croatia I know Croatian. When the coach is speaking to all the teammates in the locker room, I don't understand it because the language has nothing to do with ours. Then they translate it for me, but it's not the same. So I think it is important to know the language. Croatian is very complicated, it must be one of the most difficult languages in the world because there are many words that mean the same thing but each one is used in a context. It is a highly educated language, with a lot of vocabulary and grammatical forms.
What do you miss most about life without confinement?
What I miss the most is getting up in the morning, getting dressed, taking things and going to train. The routine of going to train, eat, rest a little and go to the gym … The routine is what I miss the most. Now I get up, I have breakfast and I stay at home. I eat and stay home. I have dinner and go to sleep. It's fucked up. What I miss the most is training, talking and seeing the people of Zagreb, going for a coffee … We have reached a point where I miss going to the gym.
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