Let's talk about the weather. Does it really make a difference to your game, come rain or shine?
No, this has no effect. Of course I enjoy the play when the sun is shining and the weather is perfect. But rain does not matter. I have been playing football for years, since I was six. Rain, sun, snow ... as a child I went to kick in all weather conditions, immediately after school on the football field.
You have learned the game in a field called "monkey cage" in your home town, Gelsenkirchen. How would you describe it?
The site is fenced, so the ball is never out of bounds and it goes on and on. We usually played five against five or six against six. And I was the smallest. I often gambled with the ball.
Zinedine Zidane was my idol. We tried to imitate his tricks, that we saw on TV, on the football field. Surprisingly, this has always worked for me very easily. The others took a bit longer.
Why do you admire Zidane?
For me he was a complete player. Technically he was the strong player I have seen.
At that time many have raved about Zidane's feats or tricks. Khedira, your teammate at Real Madrid, however, once told: "His playing was beautiful because of his simplicity".
As a child you pay attention on it because is amazing, except for Sami (laughs). Zidane was a great player because he had great tricks. Of tactical things I have no idea. As a professional, I recognize, of course, that Zidane was an important player for the team.
People call you in Spain as the new Zidane. Even you wear the number 10.
I would never compare myself with him, even when I am playing now at the highest level. Of course I am very proud to play for such a big club like Real Madrid. It is a honor for me. But Zidane is a different player. He was a player with world-wide success that I still lack. I have to prove myself first.
You can achieve it at the European Championships. Can the German team defeat the Spaniard this time?
Everyone is talking only about the Spaniards. Of course they are favorites, but there are other nations that will compete for the title. We will have our opportunities but it's a long way, and it will be definitely very difficult.
You have a play that dominates the matches. Not only in the national team, but also at Real Madrid, perhaps the biggest club in the world with the most demanding audience. How do you deal with this responsibility?
Frankly, I do not think about it. For me it is still as when I was ten years. If I am on the field, I just want to have fun.