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Exclusive: Zé Roberto

'It's a very special game for me'

Zé Roberto spent six years at Bayern before switching to Hamburg, where the 35-year-old is revelling in yet another golden phase in a glittering career. The man capped 84 times by Brazil has played a starring role in HSV heading the Bundesliga standings after six games. Ahead of Saturday’s clash between Ze’s old and new clubs, spoke to the gifted veteran, who already has three goals this term.

Interview: Zé Roberto Zé, you've now spent three months in Hamburg. How's it going so far?
Zé Roberto: “It's a very good, very well-run club. We have a good team with a number of quality young players. I think it's a team with a future."

And there's a quality 'oldie' in there among them…
“Yes, too right (laughs). Frank Rost and I are the oldest members of the team. I reckon it's a good blend. You need one or two older players, as we can help the youngsters with our experience.”

It didn't go as planned against Osnabrück in the cup, where you were knocked out on penalties. What went wrong?
“It's always a shame when you lose like that. But these things happen. We have to move on. We're out of a competition in which we'd hoped to do well. But we still have the Europa League and the Bundesliga.”

You cross swords with your former club on Saturday. Are you looking forward to it?
“A great deal. It's a very special game for me. The clubs did meet in the pre-season T-Home-Cup, but this is different again. There's a totally different atmosphere compared to a friendly. I have so many good memories of Bayern, where I spent six years, won eight trophies, and made many, many friends. It was a wonderful period.”

What can HSV achieve, with Bayern already breathing down their necks?
“We're still top of the table. We've not done so well in our last three games, but we still have enough belief to defend our position.”

Will you be fit to play?
“I hope so. I only played a half against Osnabrück with a calf strain, but I'm already feeling a lot better. I'll report for treatment on Friday, and I'm hoping to be fit for Saturday. I'd really like to play.”