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Lizarazu: FCB have come on under Guardiola

Once upon a time, Bixente Lizarazu was the man being quizzed by reporters, but now he puts the questions himself as a football expert for French broadcaster TF1. The former FCB left-back was at the Säbener Strasse facility on Tuesday to interview Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben, but the 44-year-old found time afterwards for a chat with fcbayern.de. Liza won an extraordinary 17 trophies with Bayern from 1997 to 2004 and 2005 to 2006 – and revealed he could soon be back at FCB headquarters, even if only for a week.

Interview: Bixente Lizarazu

fcbayern.de: Welcome back to FC Bayern, Liza! Do you still recognise the Säbener Strasse?
Lizarazu: “Yes, very well, especially this pitch. (He indicates pitch number two, the main training pitch in his time at the club.) I completed lots and lots of training sessions there, for eight and a half years.”

fcbayern.de: But a lot has changed here since then.
Lizarazu: “Yes, this pitch and the big building over there hadn’t been built yet, and everything’s much more modern and spacious. The club’s growing fast and winning more trophies every season, which makes me very happy. And I’m proud of my role in Bayern’s history and of feeling part of the Bayern family.”

fcbayern.de: Have you had time to chat to any of your contemporaries?
Lizarazu: “Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wasn’t there unfortunately, but I did meet Matthias Sammer. And I had the great good fortune of speaking to Pep Guardiola for a quarter of an hour. I’d like to come back and watch him supervise training for a week.”

fcbayern.de: Why would that be interesting?
Lizarazu: “I think Pep has developed a whole new way of training, so I’d like to find out more about it and also learn about the way he thinks. I already learned a lot in my short chat with him.”

fcbayern.de: What’s new under Guardiola?
Lizarazu: “Pep has brought his style with him from Barcelona: having possession of the ball most of the time. That was the case at Bayern last year. But this season there’s a new element on top of pure possession: greater effectiveness. Bayern play an excellent pressing game, they’re very dangerous, and capable of switching tactics at any time. The team has come on again under Guardiola. It’s very hard to get this team under control.”

fcbayern.de: How closely do you follow events at Bayern?
Lizarazu: “I have two favourite teams: Girondins Bordeaux, where my career began, and FC Bayern, where I won almost all my medals. I make a special point of watching Bayern in the Champions League but I also keep an eye on what’s happening in the Bundesliga. Bayern are the best team in the Bundesliga, and in the Champions League I have them as joint favourites this season with Real Madrid.”

fcbayern.de: Compared to your playing days, how has the way Bayern play changed?
Lizarazu: “The teams I were in were very physical and direct. We were more a team of fighters with Stefan Effenberg, Oliver Kahn, Jens Jeremies, Sammy Kuffour and me. Bayern play much more technically skilled football nowadays. But otherwise, not much has changed at Bayern: the same bosses, the same staff, the same family feeling, and the team is still one of the best in the world.”

fcbayern.de: Turning to you personally, what are you up to these days?
Lizarazu: “I play a lot of sport. Sometimes it’s football, but also wrestling, surfing, skiing and cycling. My work is all media-based. I host a weekly radio show, and I’m a colour commentator for all matches involving France and at World Cups and Euros. I write for sports daily L'Equipe and make documentaries, in which I take on different sporting challenges: I’ve surfed on Tahiti, tried my hand at freestyle skiing in Chamonix and wrestling in Rio de Janeiro.”

fcbayern.de: But you clearly survived...
Lizarazu: (laughs) “Yep. More episodes are in the pipeline."

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