How is your relationship with Jose Mourinho?
Mourinho talks bluntly, he does not care what players do with our spare time, whether we drink beer or we go to bed at two o'clock. All that matters is that we are one hundred percent in training. It's like children: if you do not allow them to do something, they will try to do it with more interest. You learn to be responsible for your actions, and that is important for taking decisions in the field.
Are you a leader?
As a teenager I always wanted to play well, give everything and go home. I was never one of those who give speeches on the field. But my coaches asked me that and I am gradually growing in that too. And I enjoy it.
What about tactics?
As a teenager I played in the Stuttgat youth squad, our coach at that time, who is still my friend, said: "If you learn to read the game, you will be able to become professional. Go see Stuttgart and check the Zvonimir Soldo's game". And that's when I realized that as a player, I would be able to lead a match.
And have you improved at Real Madrid?
I have learned how to face a game. When I was younger I saw a free space and pressed ten or fifteen times in the same way. Now I prepare mentally for a particular opponent and I know when I can go to press and leave my position without endangering my team. I am better prepared, and I have to thank Mourinho.
How does Mourinho teach you?
In individual conversations or in the field. Sometimes in training he says: "Stop! Why do you leave your position? Why are you leaving now?". Often, I watch my games two times and check players like Xabi and then try to improve my game.
Are you improving intuition?
Yes, the experience gives you this. You are able to make decisions more quickly. It's like learning a language. At first, you have to consider carefully the words you use, how to put together a sentence. Then, at some point, everything goes smoothly.
Football changes over time, before the 6 was the ordinary defensive midfielder...
Yes, they only cared to get the ball and not about score goals. I like to win in defense fights, but also get forward. To put it bluntly, in the German team, the central defenders are responsible for creating the game, and Klose and Gomez are also defending. That's the idea.