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David Alaba talks about Niko Kovac, young stars and racism in football

Bayern Munich’s star left-back was candid about his new coach and the problem of racism, and he also offered a few tidbits about Bayern’s young stars, including Chris Richards and Alphonso Davies

MIAMI, FL - JULY 27: David Alaba of FC Bayern Muenchen practices during a training session ahead of the team's friendly match aganst Manchester City on Saturday during the FC Bayern AUDI Summer Tour on July 27, 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
David Alaba during the FC Bayern AUDI Summer Tour on July 27, 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Alexandra Beier/Bongarts/Getty Images

During Bayern Munich's preseason tour in the US, met with the German Champions' Austrian left-back David Alaba for an interview and talked about things ranging from Niko Kovac to Mesut Özil.

The Austrian was asked to give his standpoint on Bayern's new coach Niko Kovac after the team's first few matches with him guiding the team from the sidelines:

Very positive. We worked very hard, are very focused. We can see that we’re getting better every week. . . You feel his experience, which he gathered both as player and as coach. He’s now trying to introduce his philosophy to the team. Obviously, this process takes time. We have a really good atmosphere in the team and on the pitch. He talks a lot with the players, guves us his trust, and gives us a good feeling.

The interviewer asked Alaba to explain the things that makes Kovac different from Jupp Heynckes:

That’s not so easy to explain. Niko Kovac is very focused, has a clear plan. There are not many differences or contrasts between him and my previous trainers. You notice that he wants to win every single game.

Alaba was the last young player to make it to Bayern's first team and he thinks that the goal of the club and the campus is to bring up young talents and help make them become the best in what they do:

I think that’s Bayern Munich’s goal; the new Campus was built for that, after all. I was the last young player who made it to the pros, and that’s already a long time ago. I think, though, that we’re well on our way toward establishing young players in the first team again. The young players have a lot of potential. You could see that in the training sessions and in the games. But the step to the first team is very big, so it’s not easy. I think that the boys are doing their best. You also see that the coach is trying to talk a lot with them and to give them tips about how they might improve.

Bayern's youngster Chris Richards from Texas seems to have impressed Alaba well, for he said that the 18-year-old has all the potential to make it to the first team. What is Richards’s nickname at Bayern?

Texas! He’y a good kid. He plays well, trains hard, and has his sights set on his goal. If he keeps working this way, he can make progress. He’s very talented; that’s why he’s here. I think he has the potential for a great career.

Here's the advice that Alaba would give Bayern's new signing Alphonso Davies:

You should always be yourself and never forget where you come from. For me personally, faith has also played an important part, my faith in God.

The resignation of Mesut Özil from the German national team triggered protests against racism throughout the world. Being the son of two immigrants — his mother emigrated from Philippines and his father belongs to the Yoruba ethnic group of Nigeria — Alaba was asked whether he could understand Özil's statements about DFB and racism during the course of his resignation:

Somewhat perhaps, but I don’t know what happened with him during his time on the national team, so I can’t say much about that.

The Austrian international expressed his disappointment on the fact that racism still exists in many parts of the world — especially in European countries including Germany, Austria and Italy. He said that racism should be wiped off from the face of the Earth and football is the best platform for that:

If you talk about racism, you first unfortunately have to conclude that there are still racists in the world. There are racists in Europe, in Austria, in Germany. I’ve also heard a lot about the situation in Italy and have also had my own experiences. We have no place for racism, not in football and not on the earth in general. We have to oppose it and try to make this world better. Football is a good platform for that. I think, football tries to address this problem and make things better, but of course racism still exists.

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