The 32-year-old Dutchman joined The Bavarians on a free transfer in January.

Daley Blind joined FC Bayern München in a surprise free transfer in January. The 32-year-old Netherlands international is highly versatile and can make his mark from a variety of positions. Now he is looking forward to proving his skills at one of the Bundesliga’s top teams, and the opportunity to add the UEFA Champions League to his already extensive trophy cabinet so his dad, former pro Danny Blind, will stop teasing him about it.

What are your first impressions of your new club, both on and off the pitch?

“Very good. The team’s helped me settle in quickly. Of course, the Dutch guys who are here already helped me settle in, as well They help me a lot. I’m working on my German. It takes a bit of time, but it is getting there. You see everything is at a top level. You have everything you need to adapt quickly and get to the top level.”

What do you make of the intensity and the focus in training?

“The intensity is quite high, a bit higher than I’m used to at the moment. I had some time off, so I went from zero to 100 quickly. But I’m enjoying every moment. I know if you go to a club like Bayern that the intensity is very high. Of course, it’s top-level. I want to adapt as quickly as possible.”

What do you think of the training methods under Julian Nagelsmann?

“It’s great to have trained with many different coaches in my career. And now with Julian Nagelsmann. You see his idea on the pitch and how he wants to explain it to the players. It’s interesting and I hope to learn a lot.”

You’ve won big titles in your career, but you haven’t yet been able to fulfil your dream of winning the Champions League. Is this now a unique chance and your main goal with Bayern?

“I don’t want to put the focus on that. Rather, I have this competition with my dad that he always jokes he has won one more trophy than me, and that’s the Champions League. And I have never been able to win that one. And now with this team, they fight for every trophy on each level. Whether it’s the Bundesliga title, the DFB Pokal or the Champions League, we’re still in the race, so anything is possible. And of course, if you are in a tournament, you want to win it.”

You understand German and you can play in different positions. Do you think that these factors made the Bayern management want to sign you?

“I think that’s more a question for them. But of course, they explained how they see it. For me this was also a big chance to be back at the top again, even if for now it’s for six months and after that we’ll see what happens. It was a great

opportunity for me to come to Bayern and play for trophies and be at the highest level. It’s something you want as a player.”

How and why did this transfer happen so fast and how was the first communication?

“It went really quickly after Christmas with the first conversations. At the beginning, you don’t take everything too seriously when a club shows interest, but at the end, they get serious. You’re really happy and excited. You get more and more excited the more you speak to them. When the opportunity came to really get at it, I was excited to get to go to this challenge. What more do I have to say? It’s Bayern München.”

What did your dad Danny Blind think about the transfer?

“Of course, he’s excited as well. As I said, Bayern München, you don’t need an explanation. It’s a big club, one of the biggest clubs in the world. When you get the opportunity to play here, then of course your dad is proud.”

There’s a decent list of Dutch players who’ve represented Bayern. Can you name five of them?

“Of course Nous Mazraoui, Matthijs de Ligt. Ryan Gravenberch who hare part of the team. Mark van Bommel, Arjen Robben. I think Edson Braafheid was here.

Eljero Elia was here. Did I forget anyone? Roy Makaay.”

How is your relationship with fellow Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt and what do you see as his greatest strengths?

“We have a really good relationship, on and off the pitch. (de Ligt and Daley) We know each other quite well from our Ajax time. We both played in the centre. I think we did really well together and played together in the Champions League as well. He’s a big talent. He’s very strong, also very good with his feet on the ball, very quick. I think he has everything a modern defender needs. I think he’s exactly where he needs to be.”

You’re reunited at Bayern with de Ligt, Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch. How did they all react and what’s it like to work with them again?

“They were surprised – I think like many people. But they were happy for me. We know each other very well; we had a good connection already at Ajax. They were very happy for me. It was good.”

What’s your preferred position?

“I get this question so often… I don’t know. (Blind) I think I prefer to play in the centre of the pitch. You have more options. But in the last years I played only on the left side, and for me that’s also fine. I can adapt quickly to different positions. I think that’s sometimes really a strong point for a player. Sometimes it may be a discussion point, but I always see it as a strength that I can adapt in different ways. For me, it doesn’t matter. Just where the manager needs me, I’m able to play.”

You were third in the Dutch Eredivisie for completed through balls (44.4%), fourth for completed passes into the final third (88.5%), first for progressive passes per 90 minutes (23.1) and second for completion rate in that category (90.6%). Remarkable numbers from a modern defender who can open up and dictate a game. What are your thoughts on that?

“I didn’t know the exact figures, but of course you know your strengths and you see sometimes some graphics and some numbers. I think I’m a ball-possession player or defender, and I think I have my positive sides and my downsides. But I think on the ball, that’s my strength. I think in a team at Ajax and also at Bayern, who have a lot of possession, I can be important. I can play my game and try to find the players up front on the pitch and hope they can propel the game to a chance or anything. I’m not trying to give the assist but a lot of times I try to do the pre-assist. I enjoy the ball-possession game. That’s also what I like to be here as well, with the same philosophy as Ajax.”

How does the fact that you have a pacemaker impact you? Do you think of it sometimes in a game or at other times?

“It’s a difficult subject, of course. It was a hard time, but I think I managed quite well to come back to the top level, like playing at the World Cup or Champions League level. I showed the world that we can do it – like Christian Eriksen – we showed that we can do it and that it’s possible. I hope we inspire a lot of people who have the same problems. And of course, it’s something you have in your daily life. Just when you wake up, you go to the shower, you see it and you think about it. Sometimes when you’re exhausted, you’re in training or a match, sometimes it passes through your head whether everything is okay. But I have a very good connection with my medical team and also here at Bayern now. I have real confidence in my body, so I manage to put it in one place in my head and I’m really confident that I can do everything again, which I show every day.”

You’ve played in the Dutch Eredivisie and in the English Premier League. You’re now trying out the Bundesliga. What’s your perception of the Bundesliga?

“I think it’s a league with a lot of strength, a lot of pace. A lot of games are at full speed. I think every opponent has a lot of quality and experience in the teams. So I think it’s a very tough league. I regularly watched Bundesliga games before, and you see there’s always high tempo in the games. I’m really happy about being able to play in the Bundesliga. Playing in the Premier League and now the Bundesliga is a great experience.”

What has been your experience defending with your new teammates like Thomas Müller and Leroy Sane? What is it about Bayern’s attacking players?

“They have a lot of quality, of course. And every player in a different way. For example, Müller is such a clever player. He knows exactly where the space is. His first touch is always good. He’s really aware of his surroundings. But of course, you have those quick wingers in the team who all have individual actions. I really enjoy watching them and being on the pitch with them.”

You’ve played under great managers like Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Erik ten Hag. What lessons have you taken from them for your career?

“I have been very privileged in my career so far. I tried to learn different things from every manager, tried to pick something up. But there is something you can learn every day, now under Nagelsmann, before that under Mourinho or Erik ten Hag – they’re all such different coaches. It’s good to see that.”

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