Kieran Trippier is settling into life in the Spanish capital and with his new club Atlético Madrid. The full-back - the first English player at Atleti in almost a century, chatted to AS and vowed he is going to learn Spanish come what may. "My Spanish is already better than Diego Costa's English!"
Your overall physical shape and fitness in what we we've seen of you during the pre-season has been very impressive. Before you joined Atleti, were you aware of El Profe Ortega's gruelling training regimes? Did you do any extra work before you arrived so that it wouldn't be a shock to the system?
Yes, I knew that physically, Atlético Madrid would be difficult; I worked hard before I came over as I knew that I would be joining a team that works hard and that's what I want to be a part of - the team, the coach. It's an absolute pleasure to be here and I'm going to give 100 per cent in every training session and in every game I play. That's the idea and the ambition which has brought me here.
Few English players in Spain
It's unusual for English Premier League players to leave to come over to play in Spain. How did Atlético convince you to join them?
A few English players have played in LaLiga in recent years. Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to play abroad, and with the age I'm at right now, 28, it was a great opportunity for me to come and play in LaLiga, in a different environment and a different culture, a different kind of coach; it's a challenge for me - and for my family, my kids and it's one that we're looking forward to. I hope this new chapter in my life turns out to be a successful one.
You've also been taking an intensive Spanish course - is it difficult for an English person to learn Spanish? What's been the hardest part of learning a new language?
It's important for me to learn Spanish as quickly as I can - so that I can communicate with my team mates, understand the fans, and exchange thoughts with the coach so having the language is very important in helping me to adapt to life here. It's going to be difficult but it's a priority for me right now to learn Spanish so that eventually I will be able to do interviews in Spanish, talk to my team mates on and off the field and be able to interact with everyone at the club. Having the language is very important when you are abroad.
Whose is better - your Spanish or Diego Costa's English?
(Laughs). My Spanish, definitely my Spanish. Diego does try to speak in English...
Talking of Diego Costa, what's it like having him as a team mate rather than a rival?
It's a pleasure having him as a team mate and I can tell you it's much better having him on the same side than trying to stop him as an opponent. He's a player with great quality and a fantastic person too.
Service from the wing
Costa, Morata and Saponjic will be waiting to get on the end of a few of your pinpoint crosses when LaLiga starts, is crossing one of your specialties?
It's something I've worked on since I was very young, when I was at Manchester City. They're small things and areas which I worked hard on, trying to push my game forward. I hope I can provide them with a lot of good service and create many chances on goal for all of our forwards this season.
You say this represents a challenge for you, what do you think will be your biggest challenge in the first few weeks?
I have to say the language. That's been the most difficult thing, everyone tries to talk to me in English, they have taught me a few Spanish words. They've made me feel very welcome, and that was very important for me as a player. In England, whenever Spanish or Italian players joined the team we'd always try to make them feel welcome. It's been a challenge but that's what I was expecting when I joined Atlético, and one which I face head on. I hope that soon I'll be able to talk in Spanish - that'll make life easier.
El Cholo - the boss
Is Simeone a challenge too?
Sure, there's no doubt at all that he's a challenge. Seeing him from the outside, during the past few years, I got the sensation of the closeness he has with his players - that it's almost like a family and I want to be part of that. For me, he's one of the best coaches in the world, and I only want to learn from him, that's all.
What's Kieran Trippier like off the pitch, away from football?
I'm a family man, I've got two kids, a boy and a girl, one's two and the other's only seven months old, she's still only little. I'm a married man, I love doing things with my family, looking after them, enjoying life with them. I also spend some time with my team mates - the whole team has made me feel part of the family.
Does your son like football?
Yes he loves it. I hope one day he will be a professional footballer.
Does he know that you've moved to another club?
I think so, now I'm giving interviews, he can see the kit I wear is a different colour, the shirt's different; I think he probably knows that something's changed...
What type of music do you like?
I listen to a bit of R&B, rap... I'm not a person who likes clubs.
Not feeling homesick
Have you missed home at all during your first few weeks?
No, I'm someone who can live anywhere, because of my job, I'm used to travelling so it doesn't feel strange to me; I do miss my kids, I haven't seen them in two and a half weeks, but I'll be with them soon. I can't wait to get settled in Madrid, get a place to live, be with my family and focus on playing football.
What are your expectations with Atleti?
This team has a winning mentality, they've been showing that for a while and obviously, I want to win trophies.
Source: AS / Paulina Benavente