club | 2016-03-02
Turan: 'I'm still looking for a place in the team, everything is new to me'
The Turkey international discussed his time at Barça and his hobbies ahead of the match vs Rayo Vallecano
Arda Turan met with Mundo Deportivo for a long chat, discussing his time at the club after finally being able to play alongside his teammates in an official match.
It’s been two months from the moment when you were allowed to play. How do you feel?
I’m very happy, very pleased, I’m in a winning team and hopefully this year we’ll be able to win the treble again, that will make me even happier.
You trained for six months with the team before you were able to play. Was that enough to think that you understood the game and that it would be the same during games or is training one thing and playing another?
First, you have to look at Barça like a school, the world plays one way and Barça plays another way. Every day I keep learning the style we play in, I’m improving, sharing it with my teammates, I’m happy and we’re going well. I have to accept the style and manage to join in as another piece of the team.
Is Barça’s football language harder than you had imagined it?
It’s something that goes well with my style, I just have to know well what my position has to be. Instead of playing with the ball a lot, I have to know where I have to receive it and where I have to play it to.
Is it a question of reading plays above everything else?
Yes, I have a good example in Andrés [Iniesta], I’m learning from him.
Where do you feel most comfortable?
It doesn’t matter.
Until now you’ve looked more comfortable on the left side.
What can I say, on the left side I have Neymar and on the right side I have Leo. Starting back up again is difficult and February has been a very tough month, we’ve played every three days, traveled a lot, had early games… But I’m happy. Being a piece of this team makes me happy. The last game I had played was in May, I know how I got here, I’m very happy here and I know what I have to do.
What do you have to do?
Here I have a different mission from the one I had at Atlético. Here I have to defend and attack and help the three up front. In midfield, Andrés, Ivan, Sergi Roberto, Sergio… if you look at the stats you’d say we’re not at a great level because the three up front have 100 goals. This is Barça’s system and this is how it works.
At a personal level is it difficult to make this change from being a star player at Atlético to being more of a team player?
You have to change because here everyone is a star. I’d also love to do nutmegs and tricks, but if there are others that do it better than you then you have to pass the ball to them because they make football easier. I have no ego problem, I do the jobs Luis Enrique assigns me, I’m a piece in this team and I’m very happy to be here. I’m sure that there will be big game where I would have to take on more responsibility. Sometimes you don’t just have to assist, it’s also important to help in defense, play aggressive.
Is this also something new that you’re learning, playing aggressive?
To be able to help them I have to do it. With Leo, with Neymar, you have to work more.
In the game against Las Palmas for example it was noticeable that you’re not very used to defending and that you have to control that.
Yes, naturally, but I fight for my team. That’s a special stadium and it’s not easy to play at 3 in the afternoon there, but we got the three points, which was the important thing.
I say this because it’s easy for defenders to defend, but for someone like you who is used to building and attacking it mustn’t be easy to defend now.
I understand that people are used to seeing me play more offensive, but I only want to be a piece of this team and that’s the easiest way to adapt. With time, I’ll find myself, just like Neymar did after his first year.
So you’re still looking for your place in the team, right?
I think I have an advantage, I can play four or five different positions, it’s not that I’m looking for my place, it’s just that I’m learning the system a bit more every day. It’s not changing a chip, it’s that everything is new for me.
Seeing the quality the team has up front did you ever feel like you would want to watch them from the stands?
I’ve always said that I was a fan of Barça’s football, even in 2010 when Barça was knocked out by Inter. That day Inter qualified for the final, but I knew that the ones who had enjoyed playing football that night were Barça.
A phrase of yours saying you wanted to leave Atlético because you were tired of running became famous. Do you prefer running here?
I never said that, I was happy even running at Atlético, I was also just another piece for them. For me the important thing is always the team. One day you run, one day you play thinking ahead.
You say that you always think about the team, so you also wouldn’t say something like ‘If my teammates were at my level maybe we’d be first.’
I’m a Barça player and I care about my team, I don’t care what others say.
But I imagine you were happy for your Atléti’s win, weren’t you?
Yes, of course, I have a lot of great friends there. I spent four special years there, Atléti is like family for me.
Is Real Madrid out of the title race?
We want to achieve our objective, which is to win the league, as soon as possible. If we do our job and maintain the points difference it doesn’t matter what the others do.
Can Atlético still be dangerous?
Yes, we have to be careful with Atlético because they’ll fight for the trophies until the end, until the last minute. It’s a team that never gives up and that has a very strong mentality. But I’m here to win all the trophies.
Are you excited about playing in the Champions League again and making your debut in this competition with Barça?
Yes, playing the Champions League is different, it makes you feel special, I’m very excited about it and looking forward to the next game.
I imagine you really want to heal the wound the Lisbon final left, right?
Yes, it was a very painful defeat, the most painful one of my career. We gave everything, until the last minute. Even though we left there as if we had won. I think even Barça fans were sad that day.
The tie against Arsenal seems almost done. What opponent would you like in the quarterfinals?
If we knock Arsenal out, even though first we have to finish that job, every team has a good level. We can’t be distracted thinking about what team we would want, for me the important thing isn’t the name of the opponent, but that we do our job right. The good thing is that we have a good advantage in the league and we’re already in the Cup final so we can focus a bit more on the Champions League.
You’ve said that the objective of the dressing room is another treble. I imagine that it would be a shame if it wouldn’t happen given the positive situation that you’re in right now.
We’re not thinking about negative things, we only have positive thoughts, but it’s clear that this is the situation and that seeing the trophies closer motivates us even more.
In the time you’ve been here what has surprised you the most in the dressing room?
First it was seeing that despite all the stuff that they’ve won my teammates train as if they hadn’t won anything. Andrés, Busi, Ivan, Dani… They won everything and they’re still very motivated.
What’s the secret for that?
For them, success is more important than money. Even though they’re great players they leave their egos aside thinking about the team. Seeing Leo’s example in the game against Sevilla, running 50 meters toward his own goal to defend!!! It’s incredible!
If you see Leo doing that you must think ‘If Leo runs, I have to run the same way.’
I think, if Leo and Ney run, I have to run even more!
What do you think of Luis Enrique?
I like him a lot, he’s direct, he explains everything, tactically he’s very good, but the best thing is his motivation. Every day, in training, in games he’s on top of the players and motivates us.
He deserves part of the credit for this run of 34 games without losing, right?
Without a doubt. I’m happy because until right now I haven’t lost and hopefully this won’t end. I haven’t scored, I’ve given three assists, but I haven’t lost. People could say that I don’t score or don’t assist, but if later I’ll get home and have medals, I won’t care. I want to win trophies.
What is Ardaturanismo?
I see it as playing football with joy, working for the team and enjoying football, my friends and my family, because this is life for me. If Neymar has a chance to score and I do too, I prefer to give an assist instead of scoring. I enjoy that more than scoring. Maybe that’s it.
But if you have the chance to score in the Champions League final maybe that day you won’t prefer to give an assist, right?
(Laughs) I’ve scored in difficult games against Porto, Bayern, Chelsea, but if I feel like I’ll score in the final why not?
What will you do when you score your first goal at Barça?
I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll get down on my knees and thank Allah.
Who’s your best friend in football?
Filipe Luis and Sadaroska.
Maradona and Del Piero.
Current reference point?
Iniesta. I respect him a lot. Before the game against Sevilla a long ball was coming to him high and he lowered it as if it was nothing. He plays football as if he was talking or eating. He’s an example on and off the pitch. He’s always on top of everything and asks how things go to see if he can help.
Person you’d like to meet?
Michael Jordan, Roger Federer…
Sorry, May 17, 2014 at the Camp Nou when we won the league. And the one when I scored against Madrid at the Bernabéu and we won 1-2.
Player it was hardest to play against?
Dani Alves. I didn’t like playing against him because he talked a lot, put his arm out all the time… And now he’s one of my best friends here.
Watching movies and reading.
A favorite dish?
The Quran, it’s the most important for me.
Gladiator. And when I don’t feel well, to get motivated I watch Rocky IV, especially the conversations Rocky had with his wife before going to Russia.
Your goal in life?
To be able to coach and teach my experiences to kids in Turkey.
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
TRANSLATED BY: Diana Uzum
Barcelona fan since the days of Kluivert and Rivaldo. Been here for the good, the bad and the ugly.