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Zé Roberto

‘We need to improve in a few areas’

Zé Roberto was the last of the club’s summer signings to report to the Säbener Strasse for the 2007-8 campaign, but the Brazilian can hardly be described as a new face after wearing Bayern red for four seasons until June 2006. “It almost feels like I never went away,” the 33-year-old commented. After just two and a half weeks of pre-season, the gifted player has settled back into the old rhythm and is an almost certain first-choice pick for coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. Zé spoke to about his return, his new role in the team, and the midweek clash with VfB Stuttgart.

Interview: Zé Roberto Zé Roberto, you’ve been back at Bayern for just over two weeks. How’s it going?
Zé Roberto: “I feel great, very comfortable indeed. I’m very happy. But I wouldn’t say I’ve had to settle in, I only had a year in Brazil before coming back to Munich, I know nearly all the players, so I’m not really new. It almost feels like I never went away.“ How do you like your new central role in front of the defence?
Zé Roberto: “I’m more than happy in the position, where I was very successful for Brazil and Santos. I feel a lot happier in the middle than out on the wing, I have the game played out in front of me.” How’s your partnership with the man next to you, Mark van Bommel?
Zé Roberto: “Really very good indeed. He’s an experienced and intelligent player. We talk a lot about responsibilities and positioning, that makes it easier. It cuts down the amount of running we have to do. It was close to perfect in the League Cup against Bremen.“ It wasn’t just you and Mark, the team as a whole played well against Bremen, don’t you think?
Zé Roberto: “Yes, it was pretty good, but we’re nowhere near 100 percent yet. We still need time to acclimatise to each other completely and get to know each other better. That was just one match, but we still have lots to do. We lack match rhythm. But we did play well, especially in the first half. We were all happy with the manner in which we dealt with a team which is bound to push us all the way in the league. But to repeat: we’re not where we want to end up, we’re lacking in terms of organisation and rhythm. We need to improve in a few areas.“ Your next match is against VfB Stuttgart.
Zé Roberto: “Stuttgart are the reigning champions, they’re a quality team who play disciplined football. But after playing so well against Bremen, we don’t need to be falsely modest. We want other teams to rediscover their respect for Bayern Munich. Bremen was a start, and I hope we can keep it up against Stuttgart.“ You’ll be up against a couple of old friends.
Zé Roberto: “Yes, I know Cacau very well, and Yildiray Bastürk from our time together in Leverkusen, a very good player. VfB have put together a quality team.“ But so have Bayern!
Zé Roberto: “Definitely. I’m certain we’ll give another good account of ourselves.“