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Bernat: 'Like a dream'

Mr Reliable at the age of 21. Juan Bernat is the only FCB outfield player to appear in every one of the 29 competitive games of the season to date. Who would have thought it in the summer when the previously almost unknown Spaniard joined FC Bayern? Since then it has all gone “like a dream” for Bernat, who made his international debut for Spain in the autumn. As he said in an interview with the Bayern Magazin - reports extracts of that exchange:

Juan, Munich is in the grip of winter. What do you think of snow and below zero temperatures?
 Bernat: “Not a lot (he laughs). It’s never that cold in my hometown Valencia and it almost never snows so a real winter is completely new to me. But there is always warm clothing and if I’m still too cold I just stay at home in the warm.”

You’ve been in Munich for seven months now. How do you like your new home?
“I’ve found it easy to settle in because everybody here at the club has welcomed me with open arms and helped me feel at home right from the start. My girlfriend is living here in Munich with me now. We like the city a lot and I like Bavarian food. I’m very happy to wear the FC Bayern shirt.”

How’s your German getting on?
“I’m working at it and I’ve got a lesson straight after this interview. It will take time of course. German really is very hard. I do understand Pep’s team briefings in German. But there’s one player I can’t understand at all.

Let’s guess: Thomas Müller?
“Yes. I don’t understand a word when Thomas talks Bavarian (he laughs).”

A lot of the pundits said you were the discovery of the first half of the season at FC Bayern. To be honest: How often have you had to pinch yourself since you joined FCB?
“Up to now it really has been like a dream. At the age of just 21 I took the plunge to move to a new country, a new league and it’s turned out brilliantly for me being a regular first choice in such a great team. It’s exceeded all my expectations. I just hope it carries on.”

What did you think when FC Bayern came calling?
Bernat: “
It was a great honour and it made me feel really proud when Pep rang me to ask if I could imagine signing for FC Bayern. And, of course, I was a bit surprised and, as I said, I was only 21 and playing my first season at left back. There were no problems with my club Valencia as my contract only had a year to run. Most people shared my excitement and they gave me a good send off.”

Did you have to adjust your style of play to the Bundesliga?
“No, not really. What has struck me: In Germany you get forward quicker and it’s more direct. Great value is placed on possession in Spain and there is a lot of passing in midfield.”

You started as a forward but now often play at left back. What do you prefer: Dribbling down the wing are racing back to tackle an opponent?
“I love rushing forward with the ball at my feet and attacking the opposition. But I also increasingly like defending and taking the ball off opponents.”