Angeliño: "I always just want to play"

TSG's new signing Angeliño is a quiet guy who tends to shy away from media duties. The Spaniard prefers to do his talking on the pitch. Nevertheless, the loan signing from RB Leipzig took time to speak to SPIELFELD about his first weeks in Hoffenheim. In the interview, the 25-year-old left-back also discussed the objectives this season, his family and his big dream.

Angel, how have the first weeks since your transfer to TSG been?

"I've been given a super welcome by the team, which made things easier for me. Additionally, it's been a good start in sporting terms. That helps too. Fortunately, I've also already found an apartment, I spent the first few weeks living in a hotel. My family is here now too, so things couldn't be better."

You're on loan for a year. What is your objective for this season?

"We want to be successful as a team. We have shown in the first few weeks what is possible. It hasn't all been perfect, but the quality in the team is very high. We'll see how it turns out."

There were several clubs that were interested in you. Why did you decide to join TSG?

"I obviously had several options, even though I only found out from Leipzig at late notice that they were bringing in a new left-back. But Hoffenheim immediately showed interest, and I remembered that TSG had already tried to sign me two and a half years earlier. That was a major factor. Alexander Rosen made a huge effort to sign me again. For that reason, my decision to join TSG was a fairly quick one. Things are going very well so far and it seems to have been the right choice."

And from a personal point of view?

"I always just want to play. That's the most important thing for me. That's why I moved. I want to be out on the pitch; that's why I became a footballer. This sport is incredibly good fun for me, so I just want to enjoy every second on the ball."

Could you envisage staying at TSG even after this season has finished?

"I feel comfortable here and my family like it too. But there's still a lot of time to go. First and foremost, it's about us having a successful season. Afterwards, we'll have a chat about what's possible. I would like to wear a TSG shirt for a long time to come."

Why did the transfer to TSG in January 2020 ultimately fail?

"It was right before the end of the transfer window. Although it was very close, it didn't work out. At the time, I moved to Leipzig instead for various different reasons. But you always meet twice in life, and now I'm here. I'm raring to go with TSG."

Did you keep in contact with Alexander Rosen during that time?

"At the time, everything went through my advisor. Alex Rosen and I had not even met in person then. However, I'd known about Hoffenheim's interest since my spell at PSV Eindhoven (editor's note: summer of 2018). It is of course an honour when someone wants to sign you so much. I was therefore delighted that the transfer finally worked out this summer."

Only a few days after the transfer, you went straight into the starting XI for the game against VfL Bochum and played 90 minutes. How was it being thrown in at the deep end?

"It is of course always different playing in a new team and at a new club. Leipzig have a different philosophy to Hoffenheim. For that reason, it's completely normal that you need a certain period of time. However, I've already been through a lot in football and have a certain experience. I believe I'll be able to contribute my qualities more and time as time progresses."

You predecessor at TSG is your successor in Leipzig. How do you assess the unusual situation as regards David Raum and yourself?

"TSG got the better deal. Simple as that. We want to experience a brilliant year here together and then we'll see what worked. I want to give my answer to the transfer on the pitch, because I prefer to let actions do the talking. In one year, people will think differently about the transfer."

At TSG, you're currently playing on the left of a back three or a back five. Is that your preferred position?

"I prefer to play in a back four. Then I'm even more involved in the build-up play and can showcase my strengths on the ball. I can of course be slightly more attack-minded in a back three, but it can also mean that I see less of the ball. But as long as I'm playing, I'll be happy in any position." (laughs).

You've been loaned out a lot in your career and before your spell in Leipzig, you rarely stayed at a club for longer. Would you now like to have more continuity?

"Football is a business. I can't ultimately always choose, but of course I'd like to find a place to call home long-term. I played in Leipzig for two and a half years, which is quite a long time. We'll see what happens after this season. I enjoy being on the pitch. That's where I want to be. And I want to keep doing it for as long as I can."

You have played in some very different cities, where did you like it the most?

"In sporting terms or as a place to live?"


"Many people would probably say New York as a place to live, but I didn't like it at all at the time. There was way too much going on and I didn't like that. It was only when I left the city that I realised what sort of possibilities there were there. But my favourite would probably be Mallorca. There was always really nice weather there and I could speak Spanish. In sporting terms, I enjoyed my spells in the Netherlands the most. Things went very well for me both at NAC Breda and at PSV Eindhoven. Beforehand, I didn't know whether I'd really make it as a professional footballer. Those two loan spells showed me that it would happen. I'm very grateful to both clubs for that."

Before the loan spells started, you left your family at the age of 16 and moved from Spain to Manchester. How difficult was it to take this step?

"The first months were incredibly hard. There were many moments where I asked my family to come and take me home. I was alone for the first time and wasn't used to the situation. In addition, I didn't feel very comfortable with my first host family and would always shut myself in my room after training. But then I switched to another family and felt at home. I still speak with them almost every day now. In addition, my mum came to Manchester after a year and also supported me."

What was your childhood in the north-west of Spain like?

"I grew up in a small village near La Coruña. My father left us when I was three years old. As my mother often had to work in the evenings as a policewoman, my brother and I often spent time with our grandparents. They always supported me and made so many things possible for me. For me, there was always only school and football. When I had free time, I immediately took my ball to a pitch. I would've liked to play a game every day. I played in the youth set-up at Escolas Luis Calvo Sanz. It's a small club but one that is known for its good youth development. I then transferred to Deportivo La Coruña; it was at this moment that I sensed that football could turn into something for me."

Would you like to return to your hometown one day?

"Absolutely. That's my big dream. I want to end my career at Deportivo. The golden times are unfortunately over; the club is currently down in the third tier. They narrowly missed out on promotion last season, but the passion for football in the region is indescribable. Everyone speaks about the game at the weekend. One day, I want to wear that blue and white shirt again. In terms of colours I'm already on the right track; perhaps that's why I feel so comfortable at TSG." (laughs)

Your brother Dani also plays football. Do you often speak about your games?

"We actually speak on the phone after every game. We of course follow each other's games and at least watch the highlights. He is now playing in the Spanish second tier with the Villarreal reserve team. We give each other tips and try to help each other out. He's also a left-back. But we never played in the same team due to the fact that he's three years younger than me. We always used to be out on the football pitch together. But he only started to play professionally very late. That makes it all the nicer that he's now so close to the top league."

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