Interview with Ryan Babel

In his first ever interview with, Ryan Babel talks about his first impressions, his music career, the atmosphere inside the legendary Anfield stadium and his new colleague Edson Braafheid who he's known since his childhood.

Ryan you've been at 1899 Hoffenheim for just over a week now. What have your first impressions been of your new club and your new surroundings?

It's made a very positive impression on me so far. A new region, a new country and new people - it's all very nice so far. The training centre is incredible and very modern. My new teammates have been excellent, which has made it very easy to make the adjustment. I've also enjoyed meeting the coaches and the management; so overall my first impressions have been very good. I believe that this team is capable of achieving big things.

You've already made two appearances in the first team lasting the full 90 minutes in both matches. We're you expecting to jump into the team straightaway?

Honestly, yes. That was because I had been told to be ready to play in the DFB Pokal match, so didn't surprise me that much. On the other hand it's been a long time since I played two full matches back-to-back, which has taken a bit of getting used to.

For a player your age you already boast a wealth of experience having already played in the Champions League as well as for the Dutch national team. Do you believe you can use your experience to help this young and promising squad?

I'd like to think so. If the players need or want my help, I won't hesitate to share with them what I know. I remember when I was 17, 18 that I learnt a lot from the older more experienced players at the club when they helped me.

Edson Braafheid joined 1899 just days after you did. Is it true that you already know each other quite well?

That's right. We grew up not far from each other in Hoiland and often played together at the school we both went to as well as on the streets. His brother was my age and we both tried to imitate Edson as best we could. It's a small world and now we've both ended up at the same new club.

Can you remember the feelings you had when you first stepped out at the incredible stadium that is Anfield Road?

Playing at Anfield was always something special. Especially during the Champions League matches as the fans were even louder then than they were during league matches creating a fantastic atmosphere. That's why it's so difficult for other teams to play in that stadium.

Are there many differences between your training here compared to that at Liverpool?

The main difference is that at Liverpool we often had two matches a week, which meant that the training sessions weren't as intense. The training here pushes you a lot harder because you work for the one weekend match. It gives you more time to train and focus on the things that the team can improve on.

You've even recorded a few hip-hop songs. Does music play a important role in your life?

Music is my hobby. I listen to it all the time and love to make my own tracks. I grew up learning music at school and it's often a pleasant change from football.

Are there particular musicians that have inspired you?

I listen to a lot of different styles of music, but there isn't really one individual musician who inspires me. The people behind the scenes, such as the sound technicians and producers, are just as important.

Over the last few days things in England have gone crazy with the January transfer window. What are your thoughts on the extraordinary sums of money that have been paid for you former colleague Fernando Torres and Liverpool new boy Andy Carroll?

That's just how it is in football sometimes. I don't have a lot to say about it really. Otherwise it'll be Ryan said this, Ryan said that and I try very hard to distance myself from making such statements.

Your next Bundesliga opponents are 1. FC Kaiserslautern. It will be your first match in front of the home fans inside the Rhein-Neckar Arena. Are you looking forward to making your first home appearance and what are you expecting in the match?

It'll be a difficult match. At the same time I'm really looking forward to playing in front of the Hoffenheim fans for the first time and I sure they're ready to give us the support we need. We're a young team with the potential to develop further and we're hungry for success. I believe that, with our young team and the supporters behind us, we can turn our Arena into a fortress.

So you're looking forward to meeting the fans this weekend then?

Of course I am. I'm hoping they'll get right behind the team even during the bad times. In Liverpool I always got the feeling that no matter what was happening that were there supporting and motivating the players to get back to the standards the team had set, which was an incredible experience.

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