Benito Raman: I always had this talent

With 667 sprints already this season, Benito Raman is among the best players in the Bundesliga in this category. Speaking to schalke04.de, the Belgian forward insists he hasn’t lost any of his speed in recent weeks, and discusses his dream of playing at the EUROs in 2021.

Benito Raman

Benito, most importantly: How are you and your family doing?
My wife and I are doing well, we are healthy. Thankfully, the rest of my family are also doing well. The situation in Belgium isn’t as intense as here, so fortunately I don’t know of anyone infected with coronavirus in my circle of friends.

Since recently, you have been able to train again in small groups. Which players have you missed most in recent weeks?
All the lads, but especially Matija Nastasic. Normally we eat breakfast together and chat a lot on the training ground. At the moment we don’t have that. We’re all sticking to the rules and are taking no risks. There are some players I haven’t seen for weeks, as we train separately at different times. I’m curious to see if I recognise them all when we restart (laughs).

At the moment, we don’t know exactly when the Bundesliga will return.
Whenever a restart date is given, I will be ready! I miss playing so much, there’s so much uncertainty right now. We train, but we don’t know when we will be playing again. Our excitement for the next game grows with each day.

Excitement for the next game grows each day.

Benito Raman

In the squad, you are by far the player with the most sprints. Have you done any special training in recent weeks to keep this up?
I don’t have a special programme, but I can reassure all our fans that my sprinting ability will be a strong as ever! It has always been a part of my game, running a lot. I don’t know if it’s genetic, but it has always been a talent. I like to show complete commitment on the pitch, winning possession and creating space.

The other day in your Instagram story there was a clip of you kicking the ball against the wall. Did your neighbours not complain?
No, it was in the basement. None of my neighbours could hear it. I just cannot live without football (laughs).

You have made 21 appearances this season, scoring three goals. Are you happy with that return?
It’s okay, I’m not unhappy with it. But of course you always want to score more goals. In the last two seasons I hit double figures and that is also my goal this season. But the success of the team is always the most important. What does it achieve if I score and the team loses? That’s why I’m just as happy when one of my teammates scores. I’ve had one or two assists too.

The success of the team is always the most important. What does it achieve if I score and the team loses?

Benito Raman

You made your national team debut a few months ago.
That was a childhood dream come true. I think a lot of young boys dream of playing for their national team one day. I’m proud to have achieved that and to have been part of the team recently. I hope I will get another call-up in the future. The competition in attack is really high. Belgium has a lot of players who are among the best in the world. I think joining Schalke really helped. The fact I now play for one of the biggest clubs in Germany put me more in focus.

Which Belgium player are you most in awe of?
It’s difficult to name individuals, as they all have great quality. If I had to pick one out, I would say Kevin De Bruyne. He has unbelievable ability.

Did you have an idol as a youngster?
As a small boy I was always amazed by Jürgen Klinsmann. Lionel Messi always impressed me, as did Zlatan Ibrahimović. I’ve always followed his career closely. An incredible footballer who had success and left his mark everywhere he went.

The European Championship has been postponed by a year. If you had to choose one in 2021, what would it be: Take a holiday? Or be part of the Belgium team?
Everyone loves a holiday (laughs)! But the answer is an easy one of course. It’s amazing to you have the chance to play at a big tournament. I’ll give everything to be there in 2021. I can have plenty of holidays later on in life.

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