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Exclusive interview

Rafinha: My battery’s full again

Germany is sweating in tropical temperatures at the moment, but one man wishes it could be that way all the time: Marcio Rafael Ferreira de Souza, much better known as FC Bayern right-back Rafinha. The 29-year-old, now in his fifth season with Germany’s most successful club, spoke to fcbayern.de about training in hot weather, his vacation and new signing Douglas Costa.

Interview: Rafinha

fcbayern.de: 34, 35, 36 degrees – is it too hot for training or actually just right for you as a Brazilian?
Rafinha:
Obviously it’s tough when you train in 35 degree heat, but I like it. It’s wonderful to have such good weather. It’s frequently as hot as this in my home town of Londrina. It would be super if it lasted the whole season!

You’ve been back in training for just under a week. Are you feeling heavy-legged?
You do get heavy legged in preseason, it’s normal. It’s gone very well so far We have to get fit as fast as we can. We’re approaching another season with a huge number of games.

You’re generally training twice a day at present, in the morning and the evening. What do you do in between?
I sleep. I arrived today at 8 am for our training session at 9 am, before showering, having a massage and a bite to eat. I’m going home now for a three-hour lie down. The first month of preseason is very important, because it’s when we build up our fitness for the whole season. We have to eat well, drink plenty, train and sleep.

What did you do in your summer holidays?
I spent the first two weeks with my family in Brazil and just relaxed. I didn’t spend a minute thinking about sport or football. Sometimes you just have to switch off completely. In the third week I started running and training. At our level, you can’t afford more than a three-week break, you need to be on the move again. It was a good vacation. I was able to relax as much as I needed and my battery’s full again. I’m delighted to be back at work with the team now.

You’ve made a lot of appearances in the last couple of years – do you consider yourself a regular?
Our squad consists exclusively of top players who all want to play, myself included. But when you’re at Bayern, you know you won’t play every game. What matters is to train well and be ready when the coach needs you. There’s still plenty of time before the Bundesliga restart. I hope I’ll have another good season and I’ll do everything I can to achieve that.

How much are you looking forward to playing on a team with your fellow countryman Douglas Costa, who could be your partner on the right flank?
I’m delighted we’ve signed another Brazilian, but the coach decides who plays where.

Have you been in touch with him at all?
I only know Douglas Costa from our matches against Shakhtar last season. However, when Dante and I flew from Brazil to Germany last week, he was coincidentally on the same flight, although he was seated a fair way away from us and we couldn’t talk a lot. As a result, I can’t really say a lot about him yet.

He’s been in the Ukraine for a few years. What can he expect at FC Bayern and in the Bundesliga?
Douglas Costa is a quality player, but with all due respect to the Ukrainian league and Shakhtar, FC Bayern is a different world, and Bundesliga opponents are better, more dynamic, more physical and quicker. He’ll spot that straight away. We’ll certainly have to give him time to settle in.

Douglas Costa currently plays for Brazil. Are you hoping to return to the Seleção at some point?
I have my hopes, but it’s not something I’ll ever worry about. All I’m thinking about at the moment is FC Bayern and training.