Achraf Hakimi, (Madrid, 22 years old) left Real Madrid this summer to play on loan for two seasons at Borussia Dortmund. Attracted by Favre's soccer proposal and the importance that German football attaches to the attacking sides, his start of the season has given him ownership before the Polish Pisczcek, an institution in the club that he has ousted from the holder in the Bundesliga, where he has four full games, two assists and one goal. Shy in conversation and very polite, Arra, as they call his most intimate, answers the phone to EL PAIS while doing some shopping. "I make myself understood in English," he explains.
Question. Why the Dortmund?
Answer. Because of the offers I had for a young player like me was the best option. They were going to give me the opportunities I needed within a team that plays in a way that suited me. I knew that Dortmund always tries to take the initiative in the game. In Germany, the wings attack a lot. It was also going to allow me to improve some facets of my football like defense. I am learning.
P. Carvajal went through Leverkusen and was key in his progression. Did you ask for advice?
R. I asked him, he spoke very well of Germany and his football. The teams are competitive, this season there is no clear superiority of Bayern, ours or Schalke to win the matches with ease. I like how football is lived here, with stadiums full, I already played in Iduna Park with Madrid and the atmosphere is impressive. The fans are always there, encouraging and pushing much to the contrary.
A Jadon Sancho loves to dribble, he has a very good dribbling, I suffer in training "
P. How is your adaptation to the country?
R. At first it costs you, it's a different culture and German is a complicated language. I'm teaching, at least to defend myself on the football side. You also miss the mother's food, that's always. I have not been to any Moroccan restaurant yet, but I've been told there are a few that are good.
P. Did you talk to Favre before signing?
Resus has returned to his level, he is very fast. The coach puts him as an attacking midfielder and plays where harm "
R. Yes, I came here partly because of him. I was surprised by his idea, he likes to have the ball, we play an offensive game in which we need laterals that go up and down for that round football that is played here. He insisted that I should improve on the defensive side.
P. He is fighting the post to the Polish Pisczek, who is an institution here.
I had in mind to leave Madrid, but the arrival of Odriozola was a plus for it "
R. He is a veteran side, with many boards, I liked him a lot when I saw him play. I try to learn things from him every day.
P. You, sometimes, share the band with Jadon Sancho, the feeling of this Bundesliga.
R. We understand each other well, he's young and he loves to haggle and he does it great, he's very quick in one on one. I, at times, suffer in training, it is difficult to stop because his dribbling is very good, I prefer to enjoy it as a companion.
P. The impact of Alcácer is being brutal
R. By how he has adapted he is helping us a lot, it is the best thing that could have happened to us. I was surprised by his rapid adaptation, but above all as a person.
P. They are more a team to hang balls or play down when they reach the area.
R. It depends on the situations, sometimes we prefer to play down and fast, but if there is a clear head center ….
P. Marco Reus has returned to his level.
A. Yes, he had problems with the injuries, but he is very fast. The coach puts the end or playmaker, where plays harm, or dribble, or pass or mark. Gotze is also going back to what he was, as in any club, we are happy to have great players.
P. The arrival of Witsel has made them more solid.
R. He is a very positional player, he gives us a lot in that aspect, he is in all defensive aids. It gives us the balance we need when the matches are put back and forth.
P. What game do you expect with Atlético?
R. It will be a game to enjoy and nice to play, they have strengthened very well with Lemar, Rodrigo, Kalinic, Gelson … We already know that Atlético likes to wait and we are more than dominate. We will have to be attentive, because they do not usually forgive mistakes. We are not going to make it easy for you.
P. You were a player very attached to Zidane, what did you learn from him?
R. You have to work always because everything arrives and when you have the opportunity, you have to enjoy it and take advantage of it without pressure.
P. He was also trained by Guti, who has sounded like a possible replacement for Lopetegui.
R. With Guti I agreed a little, but I was very insistent that I did not neglect the defensive part.
P. The arrival of Odriozola pushed him to leave Madrid?
R. I had before in mind the possibility of leaving, but that was the plus that told me I had to go out. To return to Madrid I know that first I have to do well in Dortmund and I am very focused on helping this club