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RB Leipzig striker Andre Silva talks about his role, development, and aspirations for the team

Published at :March 4, 2023 at 11:35 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Bundesliga)

Samad Haque

The Red Bulls forward has scored four goals and provided three assists.

27-year-old RB Leipzig and Portugal striker Andre Silva, now in his second season with Leipzig, sees himself in a different role here than with his previous side, Eintracht Frankfurt, where scoring goals was his top priority. At RB Leipzig, with whom he won the DFB-Pokal in 2021-22, he says it is his job to try to create chances, open up spaces and add more assists to his record than just goals; but whatever role he is given, he always tries to deliver 100 per cent. Silva believes coach Marco Rose has succeeded in bringing stability and consistency to the team, and with 12 matchdays to go, he is confident RB Leipzig will take many more points before the season is over.

You've been in RB Leipzig for over a year and a half now. How did you get used to the city, the club and the people?

“Good. It is completely different after one and a half years than in the first months because everything is new, even if we are talking about football. The teammates, the ideas of the club, and everything around is different so I needed to adapt fast. I think it shows a great experience. I am feeling really good about the city as well. Really nice and friendly and easy. In general, I think everything is good.”

You have played in La Liga, Serie A and 2 clubs in the Bundesliga. What do you appreciate most about the Bundesliga?

“The feeling around the stadium, the fans, the energy – the football also – I feel like you can play against all the teams and all the teams, they try to be the most complete they can. They try to attack; they try to defend. They don’t only defend. They don’t only attack. They try to make everything and be complete. A lot of transitions. Everything in general. The energy around the fans and the stadiums is always full. Good feelings.”

After a difficult initial phase, you've recently been getting a lot more playing minutes and are a very important part of the team. How have you personally experienced this development?

“In the end, I feel good because I always try to make the best I can. I always try to develop as a person and as a player. Even if when I was at Frankfurt, I scored goals more often, here I have a different role. The most important thing that I can do is help the team. I feel that what the team needs, I try to adapt. I try to be better and to bring a good show. For example, here, I already played as a playmaker, as a striker, as a second striker. I already played a lot. By my numbers, you can see that I don’t always get goals. I also help with assists. Even the third pass for the goal. I try to help the team. If I see my development, I am happy because I always try to give 100%.”

You're also scoring goals again and providing assists. Are you slowly finding your way back into the waters of the 20/21 season, when you caused a stir throughout Europe with 28 goals in 33 appearances? What do you still need to get back to that level?

“Yes, here, the trial is to look at the legs that I have. To improve them and always improve the quality but I have to read everything around me. I have to read the game. Of course, I try to make my language in general about football, but football can have a lot of variances. When I came here to RB Leipzig, I felt what the team needed was this. I try to be the best player I can in this situation. For example, in Frankfurt, the team needed to be more in the

area to get the chance. If I have one chance in the game, to put the ball inside. That was the focus of my energy. I believe now, at RB Leipzig, it is around more stuff not just being in the area and scoring. I try to create chances, to open spaces in more situations. I try to be the best player I can be and the best man I can be in this position.”

With your different role here compared to the one you had whilst you were in Frankfurt, will it be difficult to reach 28 goals? Do you still think that's feasible?

“Yes, but everything is different. Maybe if I can arrive at 28 between assists and goals because right now, I have probably the same number of goals and assists in general. Of course, I aim for that. My goal is always to make better numbers and better results. There are a lot of different things that you need to adapt to. If you don’t win on one hand, maybe you win in the other hand. In the end, success comes with the team. That is my first goal.”

What part does Marco Rose play in this development? What has he changed?

“I mean, if you see the last year and a half, we had three coaches. We have a lot of variances. A lot of ideas. I think the important role of Marco Rose to come here and to organise everything that was up and down and try to be more stable; to add more consistency. This is the biggest role and he is succeeding right now.”

The battle for the championship is more exciting than it has been for a long time. How great is your belief that you might be able to make it this year?

“To believe is easy. Everyone can believe. I believe and I try to put this goal in my head. I think that even Leipzig, the players and the staff can believe but this is the easy road. After that, we need to show that we want something more and that we are more willing than the opponents. In the end, we need to get this done. That is the most difficult and most competitive situation but to believe I think is easy. It is the first way to arrive to this final but that’s the way it is.”

Who are the biggest competitors in the title fight and why?

“Right now, I think it is Bayern and Dortmund for the first two. We have Union, RB Leipzig, and Frankfurt. I think these are the five, no? I think we are all really close. There are 12 games still to go, no? There are a lot of points still to manage. It is a long way. In these situations, I believe we will succeed, and I will work for that but we are in the same line as them, in this situation.”

With BVB and Mönchengladbach coming up, you'll be facing difficult opponents in the coming weeks. How do you rate your chances and in what way are the coming weeks, with so many top teams, perhaps also special for you as a player?

“Every week is important, and it is right to look game by game. Now, it is Dortmund a really important game that we have now. Of course, if we win now and lose the rest of the games, we don’t have a chance, so I think the entire season is decisive. We need to think

game by game. In this next game, we want to win so much that we will do everything to get the 3 points we need.

Your national teammate, Joao Cancelo moved to the Bundesliga and has since fitted in very well. Were you in contact before the move and how well does he fit into the Bundesliga?

“I knew before because we spoke at the national team, I knew that if he wanted to change clubs, Bayern was one of the teams that he wanted to experience. I think it is a top step for him because Bayern in the last year was one of the best teams in the Bundesliga and even in the world. Joao Cancelo has a lot of quality, so I think it is a win-win. I hope for us, RB Leipzig is not in trouble. I hope against us, everything will change but Joao has a lot of quality, and he can show a lot. Even technically – he gives assists too. He can make the ride side his with top performances.”

What qualities does he bring to the table? What are his strengths?

“I mean, he is very aggressive. One against one, he is so strong even going past him is not easy. If he is attacking, it is even better. He has quality in shooting as well. He scored a lot from outside of the box as well. His assists were two crosses. One was a Trivela (type of cross). I think he has a lot of qualities. One against one, aggressive, shooting and passing. Crossing. A lot of qualities.”

The Portuguese community in the Bundesliga is growing. What does it mean to you that another Portuguese star is now playing in the Bundesliga?

“I mean, it is good that the Bundesliga is looking to the Portuguese player as a good model. It is good that we are here and representing Portuguese players well. I speak about me, Guerreiro, Joao. These are new signings that the Bundesliga has gotten so I think it is a good example for us. It is good that this is happening because we try to show the world what a Portuguese player is. In the Bundesliga, it is not too often the case. I think the Bundesliga is happy to have us.”

Your captain was making a special gesture to show the importance of stem cell donation. What kind of person is Willi Orban?

“A lot of things are more important than the football. Life is one of them. This gesture from Willi (Orban) speaks for itself. It is a spectacular gesture. He tried to make an example and I think I told him that it was a top gesture. I feel proud of him and the whole team does. It is amazing.”

How would you describe the team spirit within the RB squad, given that there is so much competition and so much individual quality?

“It is fantastic. That is one reason why we are not losing these games and are succeeding. With the quality of players, you can win games but like everyone says and you are used to hearing that but with a team, you can win titles and championships so I think this is the

best role you can have. You can have 11 or 20 not so good players but they are an unbelievable team, they will succeed against 11 players that have a lot of quality on the pitch. This is the most important thing if you want to win.”