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The many roles of David Alaba in the ÖFB team

The many roles of David Alaba in the ÖFB team

“Of course, there are always moments when you would rather be on the pitch. It has always been and will always be my goal to be on the pitch,” says David Alaba.

But Vienna is still far from that. After suffering a torn cruciate ligament and other damage to his knee, he is currently working on building muscle. “The next step will be running,” he says. He doesn't have a specific date in mind for his return.

As is known, the star is completing his rehabilitation process in Berlin, where he supports the ÖFB team as a “non-playing leader”.

Daily exchange with Real Madrid

A fitness coach and a physiotherapist are looking after Alaba, and there is daily contact with Real Madrid's medical department. “I have every opportunity here to work at the highest level,” says the centre-back.

There are two modules in the daily program, which Alaba describes as “very intense, sometimes very difficult.”

Ralf Rangnick really appreciated the presence: “I think something like this is almost unthinkable in all other countries, that a player who is currently in rehabilitation sacrifices his entire vacation because he wants to be with the team, because he wants to help us in his life. He wants to support you with all your experience.”

Alaba deliberately plans his rehabilitation modules so that he is present in all team meetings if possible. “Today I had to be in the gym at 7 a.m. so I would be ready in time for the video analysis,” he laughs. “That's pretty early by my standards.”

“My role hasn't changed much.”

But what exactly does the role of the man who has been named Austria's Footballer of the Year ten times look like? “In the hotel, he is as David as he is otherwise,” says Christoph Baumgartner.

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Photo: © Giba

While eating, he sits at the table with his teammates, says Michael Gregoritsch. “He talks a lot, pushes us and helps us a lot with his aura,” he explains.

During matches, when substitutions are made, we often see Alaba giving the player a few words to say. “He's almost like a coach, but he's also a team player. He knows exactly what we're missing. He does it really well,” says Nikola Seewald.

Alaba himself describes it as follows: “My role has not changed much. I am the captain of this team and I want to lead the way with my experience and presence.”

His opinion on the lineup is important

The Real Madrid player says he is involved “very intensively” in the preparations for the matches and is also asked for his opinion when it comes to the line-up.

Rangnick's assistant, Lars Kornetka, has the following to say about Alaba: “He has a huge amount of experience and also tournament experience, which is ahead of me for example. He also has experience with the players, so he can cover a lot of aspects.”

Does Alaba have a future as a coach? The player who has featured for the team 105 times says: “I don't know what my future looks like, I don't want to deal with that at all. I have other goals that I have set for myself in advance, and my full focus is on rehabilitation.”

“The team can't be crazy”

And of course also on the success of the ÖFB team. The euphoria in Austria after reaching the round of 16 is great.

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“We notice that the expectations in Austria are very high, but we already know that from previous years. The team can handle it very well and will not let itself go crazy,” says Alaba.

Thanks also for the valuable advice from David Alaba.