David Alaba has thanked teammate Franck Ribery for making him feel welcome at Bayern Munich, during an interview with Goal.
“I think it’s obviously no secret that my buddy is Franck Ribery,” Alaba said. “But the reason the 24-year-old left back enjoys spending time with the Frenchman goes beyond shared interests and speaks to a culture at Bayern Munich that he hopes to become a part of.
“The day I walked in to the locker room, I was like, 16, 17 years old and I went into the locker room and the first guy I saw was Franck, and he was like, ‘Hey, come sit beside me,’ where I’m still sitting today beside him in the locker room,” Alaba told Goal. “Since day one I’ve had a really good relationship with him, and I’m really thankful that he always tries to help me on the pitch but also off the pitch.
“That’s the reason why I’m very thankful today. He’s like a big brother to me.”
The 24-year-old hopes that he can help younger players just like the former France international mentored Alaba at such a young age.
“I know how it is to be a young player in a team like that with the big players and the stars we have,” Alaba said. “I think from the beginning to now I’ve been able to learn from big players but I also know that I’m one of those players now so I want to give my experience to the youth players and want to be a role model and help them like Franck helped me.”
Alaba made his first team debut in 2010, and his since gone on to play over 100 games for the Bundesliga champions.
“I’m now 24-years-old but I’ve been with the team quite a long time already,” he added. “I’ve been with Bayern Munich since 2008. That’s a long time with the team, and I want to be a role model for the younger players and at the same time I want to take more responsibility on the pitch.”