How much does it mean to you to join Real Madrid?
To be honest, it’s like a dream come true. I was born in Africa and started playing football there, and I never dreamed I could play for Real Madrid. I dreamed I could end up playing in Europe, and I did, playing for Metz, Monaco, Manchester City… And now I’m at the biggest club in the world, so this is a dream come true. I’m very happy and very grateful.
What made you swap Manchester City for Real Madrid?
I had a tough season after the attack on my national team’s bus. This traumatized me a little bit because it wasn’t an easy experience. For a few minutes I was between life and death. It was difficult for me to finish the season in good shape. The manager has a view of football for the present campaign that doesn’t involve me anymore, and Real Madrid came for me. I can’t ask for more than that. I wasn’t playing for Manchester City and said to myself I had to come here. It was a difficult time for me, but I felt more relaxed when I signed my contract. I am very happy and look forward to playing for Real Madrid.
You must be happy to have a truly new year start for you in 2011 after what happened in 2010.
Of course. 2010 had a terrible start for me due to the terrorist attack and now I’ve got a 2011 contract with Real Madrid and I’m sitting at the Santiago Bernabeu, so I can just say I am very happy and very grateful. This year has had a great start for me and I hope it ends well too. I wish we win many trophies and that I score successful goals and achieve many successful things. That’s what I came here for. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not going to be easy, but I will work hard and do everything it takes to be part of the history of Real Madrid.
I had a chance to play against him when he managed Chelsea and I was at Arsenal. I am very good friends with many African players, like Eto’o and Drogba, and whenever I talk with them about Mourinho they say he is a great manager and that I’ll enjoy working with him. They said I had to definitely say yes if I ever got the chance, that I shouldn’t even doubt it. I am very happy because he made great efforts to get me into this club and the most important thing for me right now is not to disappoint him or the club. I know it wasn’t just him who brought me here; lots of other people were behind this as well and gave him the chance to bring me here. I want to make them all happy and to score many goals and enjoy myself on the pitch.
Have you had a chance to speak to Benzema or Lass?
I called Benzema last night, but his phone was off, so he was probably on the plane after the game. I had a chance to speak with Lass before the game and he welcomed me and expressed his delight for having me here. He is a very good friend of mine because we played together at Arsenal just for a few months, but we’ve kept in touch until now. I guess I have some family here. I played against Ronaldo when he was in Manchester. I’m at a big club where I know many players, and I know they will do everything they can to help me and to make me feel comfortable and safe.
Have you been watching much Spanish football on TV?
Of course. Most of the games in England take place between noon and 15:00, so I had a chance to finish early and watch Real Madrid and Barcelona games in the evening. The Spanish league and the Premiership are very different. The latter is, without a doubt, more physical, and La Liga is more technical and… ‘Intelligent’ isn’t the right word, but they have more players that know how to deal with the ball. I’ve played with David Silva, who is a great Spanish player. The difference is big, but I’m a footballer and I have to adapt to the Spanish league, hopefully as quickly as possible.
The new Real Madrid player, Emmanuel Adebayor has traveled to Manchester to collect his belongings and make the final move to the capital of Spain. The Togolese has not been able to train with his new teammates and could train this afternoon, alone in Valdebebas Sports City. Adebayor will try to do everything possible to play Sunday in the "Reyno de Navarra" against Osasuna but his presence is unclear because the Togolese played his lastgame for Manchester City last December 1.