Adnan Januzaj (Brussels, 25 years old) transfers the joy of his football to his way of being. Or, surely, it is his way of understanding life that is reflected in the field. On the way to 100 games as a realist, the Belgian is happy in Donostia, crosses his fingers to leave his recurring physical problems behind once and for all and is convinced that this season could end with something very big.
How do you feel physically after your muscle problems?
Now better. The injury at the beginning of the season stopped me for a few weeks, I was not at 100%. But I feel fine now.
How does it feel to look at the classification and see the Real leader?
Everything is fine for now. We don't think about it because nothing is done. Last year we also started well and in the end we had a hard time getting into Europe. We are happy, but we have to continue.
The season is loaded. Do you think there is a team to maintain this level until the end?
Yes of course. We have a great young team. Playing a lot of games is good for us. A team with more experience still has a harder time recovering. We are recovering well and that also makes a difference.
Personally, how are you on the team?
Good. The other day I lost one or two occasions that I had to score to score more goals, but I keep working to be well. When the competition comes back, I want to be one hundred percent and start playing more.
How important is Imanol to the team's success?
Ima is fine. It squeezes us a lot, especially me (laughs). But I like it. Sometimes we need a coach who demands us every day, to plug us. That makes a difference too.
It is often said that when a coach squeezes a player it is because he believes in him.
Clear. Although I'm always the guy who yells more than the rest (laughs). But hey, I like having someone like that too.
You have played for Ferguson, Van Gaal, Tuchel … How do you see Imanol compared to these great coaches?
They are all different. I really like Imanol for his work method, for how he is in training. Tactically it is also good. For us, as players, it is very positive to have such a coach.
He is 5 games away from 100 with La Real. How do you rate these, for now, more than three years here?
Good. I've had injuries that have slowed me down, but in the end it's football, it's my body and I have to accept it. But these years are fantastic, I am happy to be in this city, with the people who are with me every day. I'm super happy here.
What has he lacked to have continuity in the 'eleven'?
First, be physically well. 100%, no injuries. I think that during my career it is the only thing that is holding me back a bit. If I am injury free I can give much more to the team.
And at a football level? What is it that you feel can improve or that Imanol asks of you?
The good thing is that Ima knows that when I attack I am very strong and she squeezes me more defensively. It is good to have such a coach so that the player can evolve in all aspects and be better.
You have a contract until 2022. Has La Real contacted you to renew? Would you like to continue beyond that date?
At the moment, there is not anything. My agent is very calm and so am I. I don't have the mind yet to go or stay. I am very calm, I am a Real player and then if I stay it is because they will have offered me a contract and if not, I will have to leave.
There is talk of interest from other clubs and last summer there was a lot of talk about his possible departure.
At the moment, as I say, I am very happy here. There are always interested teams, but I am very happy, with the people, in the city. At the moment I have no doubt that I don't want to leave La Real.
What strikes you most about Silva on a day-to-day basis?
Is very good. We all know the quality it has. In addition, it is an example also off the field and on the field. You can tell that he is a player who has won titles and always wants to win. For the youngest, it is important to have a player like him to help them.
Oyarzabal is Pichichi. Do you miss a penalty in Zubieta?
Let's see, in Zubieta he fails penalties, you have to be honest (laughs). But in games everything comes out. He shoots them very well. Sometimes I get pissed off with him because he won't let me throw them away. The next I will fight with him to leave me.
You will have to put it in.
(Laughs) Just kidding, he does very well.
Its main competition on the right is Portu. What stands out about him?
Is a great player. A boy who works hard, who always gives 100%. We are two different footballers, but we are both good and having competition is positive.
The mix between the two would be a perfect player.
Yes. But depending on the matches, there are times when you need Portu more and others, Janu. We both have quality. He has his good points, I have mine, and we both have weak points. In the end we are two very different but important players.
Do you see yourself winning the League?
It is too early to say something but… I see it well this year. You see that Barça or Madrid are losing points too, for them it is not being easy at the moment and we are going game by game, winning every game. That is the most important. We can't think about what will happen in 15 games, we have to keep working every day to win every match.
There are more title options: Cup, Super Cup, Europa League. Will any fall?
Yes. We are working hard. But it's difficult. Look at the Europa League. The group is very competitive so imagine the next rounds, it will get more complicated, with high quality teams. We have to face all of that and keep working.
Why do not the goals enter in Europe?
It's different, I don't know. The style of play … In La Liga we know our opponents better and when you play against players you don't know, things get complicated.
The European ticket arrived thanks to his goal in the Wanda. Is it the most important of your career?
I think not, but one of the most important. It was important for the club and that makes me happy.
Did you see clearly that you should shoot instead of center?
I played injured, as everyone knows. I made the play, collided with the two players and took the free-kick. Portu asked me to throw it away, but in the end I wanted to do it myself. Normally I would not have been able to hit but since it was the last game I left everything on the field. I wanted to hit her hard, down, so that someone would either touch her or enter directly. And I go in.
How is your life in Donostia?
I'm very happy. It is a city with very good people. I have a lot of respect for the fans, I like them a lot, they have always supported me.
They are missed in the stadium …
Yes, definitely. But the people on the street who talk to me are very good, very calm. I love this hobby. You never know, I might not end my career here, but if one day I leave I want Real and the fans to remember me.
Do you have any promises in mind in case a title falls?
It would be incredible, historical. I will be very happy and still do something. If someone proposes something to me, I do it.
In summer, if all goes well, there will be a Eurocup. Do you see yourself playing it?
In this call I had been injured, but it does not worry me much. The first thing is to be well at La Real and keep working.
Can you imagine winning the League with Real and the European Championship?
I would be happy but I always want more, to win more trophies. I come from competitive teams, used to winning, and I want to do it here too.
Januzaj had to deal with covid-19 during the preseason. “In the end, you can't control it. You can go to the street to buy something and someone hands it to you. You don't know how you take it. I was calm. It was before the season and it was better to catch it then than not now. That's life. Now there are many players who are taking it. You have to take action, of course, but in the end you can't control everything. If not, you go crazy, you think that if you do this or that you are going to catch it and that is not the solution. People have to live their life too ”.
Januzaj He is happy within the great atmosphere that reigns in the txuri urdin squad and details which players he feels closest to. “The one I spend the most time with is Isak”, Says the Belgian, a relationship that they tend to give a good account of on their social media profiles. “I get along really well with him. Isak, Modi, Nacho, Elus… The truth is that I get along very well with everyone, but in the dressing room you always have one or two friends who are closer, who go to their houses or come to yours. In this case it is Isak”, Says Januzaj.