He’s only featured once thus far for Bayern Munich, but new signing Marc Roca has said that he’s thoroughly enjoying life at his new club thus far, having made the move from La Liga side Espanyol during the summer transfer window. He recently did an exclusive interview with Bundesliga.com to chat about how he’s adapting to life in Munich and how he’s getting on with the rest of Bayern’s squad.
Roca said he’s already doing his part to try and learn German, which certainly isn’t the easiest of tasks, especially with Bayern having such a packed fixtures list. “I’m learning a bit, asking questions, and I hope to be able to speak and communicate my thoughts in a few months, for me that’s very important because the team talks are in German and I know it’s important that I know and learn German, so I can understand it well,” the midfielder said.
When he first arrived at the club, he said that speaking in English helped him adapt quicker and that it was an incredibly welcoming environment: “We speak in English. I was very warmly welcomed by them and my teammates, they’re teaching me a lot. We also do video work with the analysts, and I’ve been able to learn a lot there too, knowing exactly what they want from me.”
The intensity of Hansi Flick’s training session is something that’s been highlighted both before and after Bayern secured another historic treble last season. It’s not to say that training sessions at top clubs across Europe aren’t as intense, but Roca said that he was a little bit surprised by the pace of the training sessions when he first arrived at Bayern: “It surprised me a bit at the start, the training sessions! The balls moved so fast and that’s good, I’m sure it’ll help me improve a lot. I think I’m going to have to bulk up a little bit because everyone here is very strong! But I’m sure I’ll get there, and it’ll do me a lot of good in the future,” he said.
Prior to making his move from Espanyol, he consulted former teammates on what the Bundesliga was like and revealed that it’s a league he’s always had great admiration for. It’s never the easiest switch coming from La Liga to the German top flight, but Roca knew that it was the right move for him to make: “It’s a league I’ve always liked a lot. There are some old teammates of mine here, like Aaron Martin who I played with at Espanyol, Jorge Mere, Dani Olmo, so I spoke to them and they all told me how good the league was. It’s a league where all the teams try to play and dominate the game, and I like that a lot. It’s a style of play that I like. And in the Bundesliga the stadiums were always packed, now we have to wait a little while for that. Hopefully we’ll find a quick solution to the COVID situation and we can all go back to normal as everyone is so excited for it.”
At least part of the reason for Bayern signing Roca was because of Thiago Alcantara leaving to join Liverpool in the Premier League. Thiago is a player that Roca admires a lot and he’ll even be playing a slightly similar role to him at Bayern, though he is more of a defensive-minded center midfielder. “Thiago is spectacular. He’s a player I love. He’s got so much quality. Defensively he’s a great player, too. I really like watching his games: the other day I was watching the Liverpool game, really enjoying how he plays. Really, really good,” Roca said of his Spanish compatriot.
Roca said one of his footballing idols is yet another former Bayer Munich player; Xabi Alonso, who was also a central midfielder during his playing days. “I look at lots of players. Javi is one of them. Before I would have said Xabi Alonso too, someone who also played here. He’s a player I’ve always watched because I think he dominated all the important parts of the game: with the ball and defensively, he’s very complete, and I always based my game on him,” Roca explained.
Looking forward, Roca sees his move to Bayern as a massive step forward in his career and he’s really eager to continue growing as a player, both off and on the pitch: “I’m really excited to grow as a footballer and a person, learning a new language, living away from home, getting out of my comfort zone. And yeah, I just want to learn every day, try to improve as much as I can, and help my teammates in any way I can and in any way the coach wants me to.”