hotel. I read something recently that said the club had something like 330 million fans in the world. That’s amazing. I’ve also seen some footage from when United went to Asia in 2009. The love that people have for this club is spread all over the world and it’s an honour to play here. If you say the words ‘Manchester United’ in any part of the world, people know who you’re talking about.
You watched United play Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on your first trip to Manchester. What do you remember about that experience, and what were your first impressions of the stadium and the fans?
It was an unbelievable feeling. I remember the atmosphere around the ground. It was such an important game and you could really feel it – the fans were great. I couldn’t believe I was sitting inside Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams. This was something I had only ever seen on television, only dreamt of being inside. I had heard so many people talk about Old Trafford, but to be there was something very special. It made me so excited to know that in three or four months I might be playing there.
You were visibly upset after the Champions League final against Barcelona. Is that the biggest disappointment you’ve had in your career so far?
No, not at all. Far from it. It was difficult, sure, but if you ask every person in the world if they want to play in a Champions League final for one of the biggest clubs, then I think they would say yes. It was a fantastic experience in my first season at the club. There are more positives than negatives from a personal point of view. The one big negative, of course, is that we lost the match. At least I know that we have a strong team and we have every chance of reaching another final. I’m confident there will be more opportunities for success in the future. So although it was disappointing not to win, those are the kind of occasions you aim to be involved in as a footballer. I’ve definitely had worse moments in football.
You suffered a concussion during pre-season, which meant you missed the start of this campaign; how did you get the knock and how do you feel now?
I just headed the ball on the wrong part of my head.