De Gea: Manchester is my city now

Monday 21 February 2022 14:00

David De Gea returns to his birthplace on Wednesday evening for Manchester United’s Champions League round-of-16 first leg against Atletico Madrid.

The 31-year-old started his career with the Spanish side and will come up against them for the first time since leaving the capital in 2011.

Ahead of a tie to savour in Europe's premier competition, he told UEFA that, while he hails from Madrid, he feels at home now in Manchester.

“I like the fact I was born in Madrid,” said the Spaniard. “But, at the end of the day, it’s just a city.

“Now I feel as if I’m from Manchester, I just feel like anyone else from Manchester. Where you are loved and welcomed is your home.

“I've been here many years and, obviously, anything can happen in life, in the world of football. But, honestly, I don't see myself away from Manchester United."

Our Box to Box special on David's wonderful save against Brighton.

De Gea has reiterated his intention to be successful on his return to the club where he made his senior debut, and won the Europa League in 2009/10.

He said: “Of course I’m going back home, to the club that gave me the opportunity to be who I am today.

“But this is just another match. Everyone is going there to win, especially me.”

David was aged just 19 when he broke through at Atletico Madrid, and he indicated he will always be grateful to Quique Sanchez Flores for putting his faith in him.

“When Quique [Sanchez Flores] arrived, the team changed,” said De Gea. “There was a moment when [Sergio Asenjo] and I were both available, and he chose me.

“I played nearly every game. We made it to the final of the Europa League, and we won it. We also made it to the final of the Copa Del Rey and then we won the UEFA Super Cup against that great Inter side.”

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De Gea has become renowned across the globe for his ability to both repel shots with his feet and distribute effectively from the back.

The Spain international feels, while it is useful to be comfortable with the ball at your feet, shot stopping is a goalkeeper’s primary responsibility.

“What a goalkeeper has to do is stop goals going in," he assered. "That’s the most important thing.

David De Gea's passion is evident.

“If you have the talent or the quality to be able to play with your feet and have good vision, that’s phenomenal.

“I feel very comfortable playing with my feet, playing out from the back, but [whether I play out from the back] depends on the coach and the style of play.”