Schalke’s Leon Goretzka: “When you join a club like Bayern Munich, you have to believe in yourself”
Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka is convinced he has what it takes to prove a success at Bayern Munich next season, despite a plethora of talented midfielders providing competition at the Allianz Arena.
Speaking prior to his final game in Schalke colours – at home to Europe-chasing Eintracht Frankfurt – Goretzka has re-affirmed his self-belief and reasoning behind joining the serial champions in an interview with Sport Bild, his first in-depth chat since the announcement of the move in January: “When you join a club like Bayern, you have to believe in yourself.
“When I decided to join Bayern, I wasn’t thinking about this guy playing there, this player could be joining here and hopefully that player leaves. Things happen so quickly in football that you can’t really plan like that. You want to develop as a player and help your team – that’s why I’m relaxed and not concerned about the competition. I want to put in my best displays on the field, and if I do that, I know I can help the team.”
Watch: What will Goretzka bring to Bayern?
“On top of that, it’s also evident that if you join Bayern, your chances of winning a trophy increase. When you join a top European club – as Bayern are – then you have to play right to your limit because of the quality in the squad. That’s a basic requirement to develop, get better and play at the top level anyway.”
Goretzka, who will move to the Bavarian capital on a free transfer, admitted that he hesitated about whether to leave Schalke – at one point writing down all his thoughts, both positive and negative, in a notebook in order to clear his head – explaining the protracted transfer saga.
The slow nature of the official announcement raised the ire of both Schalke and Bayern fans, but Goretzka explained that there were two factors behind the delay: the first, that he did not want to take a rash decision; the second, that Bayern, who have since named Niko Kovac as their next head coach, were yet to appoint a successor to Jupp Heynckes.
Watch: Heynckes offers his thoughts on Goretzka’s arrival
“It was a long process and I’m grateful to Schalke for giving me that time,” Goretzka said. “I’m not a block of ice, but rather quite an impulsive person and I didn’t want to take my decision based purely on emotion.
“For me, the most important thing is a conversation with the coach, and so that knocked me. It couldn’t be avoided any longer, though, and when Bayern set out clearly what they were looking for in their new coach, I was able to identify with that.”
While Goretzka’s decision initially disappointed Schalke fans, who felt betrayed by one of their own – the midfielder joined the club from nearby Bochum at the age of 18 – he has since put his head down and worked hard, earning his way back into their affections.
“I’ve performed well and helped Schalke,” he said. “The fans have taken it well and the atmosphere has remained good.”
Ahead of facing Frankfurt, who knocked Schalke out of the DFB Cup at the last-four stage, denying Goretzka a chance to face his future employers in the final, the Bayern-bound midfielder has also admitted that he does not know how he will react when the curtain drops on his Royal-Blue career on Saturday afternoon.
“Generally I’d say I’m not naturally the most emotional person, but it will be a very emotional moment. I wouldn’t rule out tears.”