Daley Blind interviewed: Full-hearted football
His father Danny won the Champions League, so Daley Blind knows what it takes. At the same time, he aims to have an impact beyond the game. The defenderis a good example of never giving up if you want to live your dreams.
Interview: Daley Blind
Daley, Bastian Schweinsteiger told us you were the first person he met when he joined Manchester United. He still raves about the welcome you gave him. Can you remember that?
Daley Blind: "Yes, of course! It was a cool situation for me as well: Bastian was a Champions League and World Cup winner, I'd followed his career closely and was very happy at the time that he came to United. We got on very well from the first moment. He's a fine guy, a personality, and it was an honour to play with him."
Did anyone give you a welcome like that on your first day at FC Bayern?
"The situation was a bit different for me because I had Matthijs de Ligt, Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui as contact points from our time together at Ajax in Amsterdam. Also, Leroy Sané played for Manchester City, so I had another connection there. I felt a special atmosphere here from day one. You notice the strong cohesion in this team. For example, I sit next to Thomas Müller in the dressing room. He talks an awful lot and is definitely a guy who makes it easy for every newcomer. Joshua Kimmich sent me a message right after my first game, which I thought was a very nice gesture. Everyone makes you feel good about this team right from the start, that's something special."
When you come to a new club, you have certain expectations, especially with a club like FC Bayern. What's met your expectation, and what has surprised you?
"Of course, everyone has an image of a club of this size. But when you're actually here, you feel what it really means, the sheer dimensions of everything here. What impresses me most is the work ethic at this club: everyone is absolutely focused on being top at the end of the season and winning trophies, and gears everything towards that. I'm impressed by this ethic, this ever-consistent attitude at the highest level."
You've been playing with an implanted defibrillator since 2019. What does that mean for you?
"In the beginning, I was still very focused on myself, you first have to process it and find your personal method of coping. But even during my sports rehab, I received a lot of messages and noticed how many people were thinking about this subject. I'd now like to show that everything is possible - beyond sport as well: even a heart condition doesn't necessarily mean you're forced to stop doing what you love. I can even continue to live my dream as a professional footballer. You also don't have to sit at home all day because you're afraid you can't risk doing anything because of your medical situation."
So you're trying to encourage people too?
"Of course, everything has to be agreed with the medics. But I get so many messages about some people not daring to leave the house or being afraid to go back to work, and I think if you push yourself, so much more is possible. That's what I want to show with my example. I hope I can be a little inspiration for a few people, and I want to convey to kids and all people that it's always worthwhile if you never give up, set yourself goals - and live for them."
In your case, the idea of full-hearted football has an extra dimension.
"Yes, in my case you can definitely say that."
Your father Danny Blind won the Champions League, among other trophies. Were you always motivated to step out of his shadow?
"No, I was never driven by that. I'm very, very proud of him and he's helped me enormously during my career. Of course, many people compare me to him, and maybe I was often judged a bit more critically because I have a father who achieved so much in football himself. But I never put myself under pressure to achieve more than him. When I was little, I could only dream of a career like his. There were always footballs lying all over the house and in the garden. It's nice that I was able to follow in his footsteps: The name 'Blind' is associated with a lot of trophies. After all, it's a great family tradition."
Did he look at you sternly at family dinners on Sundays if you went for seconds of the roast?
"To be honest, when I was little, not yet (laughs). But when I got more serious about football at 16, 17, he drilled it into me that I should avoid desserts: 'They make you fat, so don't have them!' To this day, I almost never eat dessert. Granted, every now and then I give in, but on the whole I've always taken that advice to heart."
You won the Dutch championship seven times - your father five times. Did you rib each other, was there a scoresheet on the kitchen wall?
"Yes, when I turned professional, of course we set up a little competition of that sort (laughs). I overtook him with championships, games in the national team and with many trophies - unfortunately he then always counters that he won the Champions League and I only won the Europa League..."
So you need the Champions League with FC Bayern this year…
"We'll give everything for that. FC Bayern is one of the clubs that always have the quality to win the Champions League."
Your contract expires this summer - what comes next?
"I'm just focused on helping the club in the coming months, and winning as many trophies as possible. My family is also in Munich now, we feel comfortable in the city and I'm proud to be a part of FC Bayern. The goal is to recommend myself for a contract beyond the summer, but that's all up in the air. There's no pressure on either side - for now it's about continuing the club's success story."
The full interview (in German) appears in the current edition of FC Bayern members' magazine 51.