Pavard: Self-reflection makes you stronger

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Sitting at home and not allowed on the pitch - Benjamin Pavard is just as annoyed by the situation as his colleagues. The Frenchman was raised to be ambitious and strives for perfection. In club journal “51” he talks about isolation and his strong debut season so far.

Benjamin Pavard interviewed

Benjamin, the most important question these days: how are you?

Pavard: "My situation is mixed. I’m home alone here in Munich. My parents were supposed to visit at the end of March, for the game against Eintracht Frankfurt and my birthday a few days later. Fortunately, we can at least see each other on video calls these days. My family are doing well under the circumstances. I have no siblings, and being so far apart in this complicated situation is not ideal."

'Cyber' training is not only important to stay fit. It also helps the players exchange views and talk about the current situation.

Has this crisis changed your view of the world?

"I think people are becoming more thoughtful. I'm just noticing how long the days are when you spend them completely alone. We talk about these thoughts and feelings during video training with the team. We know what’s important in life: health, of course - and as an athlete I miss the competition. That spurs us all on. I miss the daily training, I miss the stadium, I miss the fans in particular."

What motto should people use to tackle this particular challenge?

"People should follow the rules the governments have imposed, based on recommendations from health authorities. Then I’m confident we will soon get out of this situation well."

During the period of isolation, how are you keeping yourself fit?

"We have specific plans. After breakfast, training with the team via video is usually at 11 am for one and a half hours. I have my own gym at home and a pool, so I can do additional sessions myself. And I’m often in the garden doing something with the ball. Without the trusted guidance of our physios, the whole situation is more difficult - and not so nice, because the team spirit is missing. In a time like this, you realise just how well looked after we are at FC Bayern. The physios make things so easy for us players. So here's a thank you to our medical staff at Säbener Straße - you are extremely important."

So let’s move onto sport, as a distraction: On your shin pads at the World Cup there was a quote from Nelson Mandela: “Je ne perds jamais. Je gagne ou j’apprends.” In English: “I never lose. I win or I learn.” What does this saying mean to you?

"It drives me on. In every game, every training session and many situations in everyday life, I always say to myself: In the end, you learn more from your defeats than from your victories. Or better: you have to draw the right conclusions from your defeats."

After Manuel Neuer and Joshua Kimmich, you've played the most minutes this season. Did you expect that?

"If someone had told me that in the summer, I’d have shaken my head in disbelief. But I’d prepared for this move to FC Bayern and I felt from day one I could fundamentally develop my play here. I'm still a long way from the end of my journey. I always aim to improve. It's not an empty phrase. No matter how a game ends, I ask myself after the final whistle: what did I do wrong? What can I do better next time? That is my incentive. I always analyse myself after every game."

Benjamin Pavard turned 24 a few days ago. We take a look back at his best moments in Bayern colours so far:

How did you grow up, how was football integrated into your life?

"I started playing football at the club when I was four or five years old. My father was our coach - a tough coach who made us run a lot. He always told me what I could do better. I think I took my attitude, that I’m never satisfied, from him. It was best not to speak to Papa for two hours after a defeat – and I'm no different. He always pointed out my deficits. I was brought up like this: self-reflection makes you stronger!"

The path led to the World Cup in Russia at the age of 22. Your goal against Argentina was spectacular.

"Everything went like a dream. I went to Bayern partly to stay relevant to the national team. For me it’s the best club in the world, with the best players in the world. Bayern will win the Champions League again soon, I'm sure."

What are your wishes for the future?

"That people take care of themselves during this unique time and listen to what the health experts advise. We can only get everything under control if we all stick together. I hope that we'll all see each other again in the stadium soon. And for us as a team, I hope that as soon as football resumes, we’ll win, win, win. There’s no other way at FC Bayern."