"Coming here is a dream come true"
Alphonso Davies took a huge step last December. The Canadian forward left his family and home in Canada behind to move to Munich and play for FC Bayern. As the 19-year-old explains in an interview with fcbayern.com, he has no regrets about that decision. Davies has been eligible to play since January and has already written himself into the FCB record books when he became the first player born this millennium to score for the Munich club with his goal against Mainz.
In the interview, the teenage winger talks about that special moment, his first few months in Munich, which of his new teammates have impressed him the most and the meaning behind his shirt number.
The interview with Alphonso Davies
You've been living in Munich for almost six months. Have you gotten used to things yet?
Alphonso Davies: "It's good. Obviously it's different from Canada. The one thing I find different is nothing's open on Sundays (laughs). That's usually when I go do shopping for the week, and the first time I came I went to go buy some clothes, nothing was open. Now I'm used to it. The weather is getting better. There's a lot of coffee shops where I live, a lot of people outside -- it's good to see. I hope I can experience more of the culture and especially learn the language."
What's been the difference between Germany and Canada?
Davies: "How active people are. They see a little bit of sun and they're outside enjoying the weather. In Canada it's different because when we see sun, there's still snow on the ground so you can't really do much (laughs)."
Munich and the surrounding area are quite similar to Vancouver with a lot of nature and great scenery. Have you been able to take a look around yet?
Davies: "No, I havent, not yet. I've only been in Munich most of the time. I'm hoping some days in the next months or next year I'll be able to go into the mountains because Manu [Manuel Neuer] is always talking about them saying you should go to the mountains, it's very beautiful."
**What do you think of Munich as a city?
Davies: "It's a very clean city. Apart from the language, coming here is a dream come true. You don't see really big skyscrapers, everything's a decent height -- I like it. You don't want to be walking past a building and hurting your neck."
How's it going learning German?
Davies: "It's difficult. I think German is one of the hardest languages but I have a good teacher, I have players around me who want me to learn the language. I also want to learn the language. They tell me every time I have a chance to speak German, speak it. Don't be shy. Obviously it's not going to be perfect, the way you guys put your sentences. I'm learning sentence structure -- it's very different from English. My teacher's helping me a lot, we usually have an hour or half an hour every day."
When you arrived you said you had to adapt to the pace of training. How are you dealing with that?
Davies: "I'm still dealing with it. As a young footballer, it's not easy to come from Canada and then try to play in one of the best teams in the world. It takes time, especially at a young age. It takes a lot of patience to be able to play. Yeah, you're going to make mistakes but the players just tell me, 'make 100 mistakes but we know you're learning. You learn from your mistakes'."
Who's impressed you the most in training? Who do you want to learn from the most?
Davies: "If you look at the team, there's not many players you don't want to learn from. You want to learn from everyone, but I think one of the main guys I look up to is Thiago. We play different positions but his awareness on the field, his touches, everything about him is so calm. He's technically gifted and amazing to watch -- as a teammate and as a fan. As a kid I watched him and I remember my friends talking about him."
What do you make of your first few games?
Davies: "I'm happy to get them. Coming into this team, I didn't know where I was going to be, but the coach saw something in me in training and gave me the opportunity to play some games. Luckily I got my first goal for the club and for my Bayern Munich career, and hopefully more to come."
**What was it like scoring your first goal, especially at the Allianz Arena?
Davies: "Wow! I was speechless, I didn't know what to say when I scored. I tried to do the Arjen Robben sliding on my knees. Before I was actually watching him and just how amazing he is still. I'm sure he's going to come back and play before he leaves. And I saw one of the videos where he slid on his knees and I thought I wanted to try that, as a kid looking up to one of your role models, and I tried it."
You've already played a few games for the reserves in front of a few hundred people. How was that experience different from playing in front 75,000 at the Allianz Arena?
Davies: "Every game I play, no matter how big or small, I just try to give my all in everything I do. Obviously it's different when you walk in the stadium and you see 75,000 people compared to 700, but as soon as that whistle blows, football is football, you just want to play and have fun. I don't see it as a negative thing [playing in a lower league]. Most of the players here, for example Lahm and Alaba, played for the second team. It's a transition you have to go through being a young player, get some minutes, you don't expect to play every single game at that level in the Bundesliga. My time will come, I'm being patient."
You've already had a small injury in the past few weeks. How have you dealt with that?
Davies: "The injury was a tough one. The day I scored I was supposed to go to Canada with the national team. When I got injured I was devastated because I wouldn't be able to participate in the game in Canada. It was disappointing because it was in Vancouver as well -- the club I came from, the city I came from. But I'm over the injury now. I worked hard every day to make my injury better again."
You had to watch the Dortmund match from the stands because of the injury and we saw you shouting along to the line-up when it was read out. Are you a fan as well as a professional footballer?
Davies: "Still a fan of the German clásico, still a fan of football. One of my friends is actually a supporter of Dortmund -- he was happy for me coming here and still supports me, but once the game started, I don't know what happened to him, he went quiet. I called him several times but he didn't pick up his phone (laughs). Luckily we got the win and we're top of the table now."
How are Bayern seen in your homeland?
Davies: "It's one of the biggest clubs in the world. When they found out I was going people were shocked and started naming these big players. At first I was like 'wow, I'm going to be playing with them, they're going to be my teammates'. When I first walked into the locker room, the first person I saw was Robben -- I couldn't believe it. 'Is that really him?' So I started staring at him. I shouldn't have done that but I started staring at him."
Does the number 19 have a special meaning for you?
Davies: "I was choosing between 14 and 19, and then I realised 2019 was the year I'm able to play for this amazing club, so I thought I might as well go with 19. And the same year I'm turning 19, so that's the meaning behind my number 19."