Juan Miranda on his first nine months in Germany
After recovering from a calf injury, Juan Miranda is ready and raring to go. As such, the Spain U21 international is hoping he and his teammates will be back on the pitch soon. In an interview with schalke04.de, he spoke about his first nine months of living in Germany, his first time trying currywurst and how he stays in touch with his family.
Juan, you suffered a calf injury several weeks ago. Has your injury healed since then?
Thankfully, I’m pain-free and I feel good. It’s a nice feeling to be back training with the team, inasmuch as that’s possible given the current restrictions.
What did you do to keep fit and to get back in shape over the past weeks?
Our fitness coach created individual training programs for every player for us to do at home. I followed that. Like every footballer, of course I much prefer being able to train on the pitch, but we didn’t have any other option. Ensuring the health of everyone is the most important thing. I really hope that all of us will be able to get through this difficult time soon.
You really showed your potential during the first half of the season. What did the head coach say to you after your first few matches for Schalke?
In the beginning, when I wasn’t playing yet, I was in close contact with David Wagner. He kept saying that I needed to be patient and that my time would come. That’s exactly what happened. I know that I will need to continue working hard in order to get more playing time. Luckily, I’m fit once again and have recovered from my injury.
I'm pain-free and feel really good.
You’ve made five competitive appearances for Schalke so far, with none of these matches ending in defeat.
I read that fact a few days ago. I didn’t know that before. It makes me proud, to some extent. But, that’s all in the past. As a team, we need to look ahead at what’s still to come in order to try and celebrate more successes.
You’ve been diligently learning German since you first arrived at Schalke. How much progress have you made in your lessons?
It’s not an easy language. But, I’m working hard and have a great teacher in Bodo Menze. He’s constantly teaching both myself and the other lads – Jonjoe Kenny, Rabbi Matondo and Jean-Clair Tobido – more words and phrases. I can already converse and understand a bit. I keep improving.
Which of your teammates has been particularly helpful to you?
When you arrive in a foreign country, it’s always important that you find someone early on who also speaks the same language as you do. I was very lucky that Omar Mascarell has been there for me since day one and was willing to hep me with all my questions and concerns. He’s not only a great captain, but a great person as well. I owe Omar a lot, as he helped me to quickly find my footing here. The team, the coaching staff, the backroom staff and all the other employees were very welcoming when I arrived last summer. I was also particularly impressed with the fans. They stand by the team through the good times and the bad and are constantly supporting the club.
Who else, other than Omar Mascarell, helps you out when you have questions?
I need to mention Massimo Mariotti (Ed. note: the club’s integration advisor). He welcomed both my family and I on my first day here and promised me that he would be there to offer assistance and advice if I had any questions or concerns. He’s since kept that promise. I’m very grateful that Schalke have someone there to care for the players who aren’t from Germany, even off the pitch. That’s been very helpful for me.
Omar Mascarell is not only a great captain, but a great person as well.
The world is currently on hold, and there are many restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. How is your family in Spain doing?
Fortunately, they’re doing well. My family lives in Sevilla. Currently, people are quarantined in their homes. You’re only allowed outside in order to go to the pharmacy or grocery shopping. The restrictions are harsh, but necessary.
How often do you speak with your parents?
We talk often, pretty much every day. Over the past months, my family had come to Germany several times to visit, and even watched a game in the VELTINS-Arena. That’s why I’m hoping that life will soon get back to normal and then can come visit me in Gelsenkirchen again.
What do you miss from home?
I miss my family and my friends, of course. I also miss Spanish food a bit. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy. It’s the exact opposite; I’m doing really well. And the food in Germany is tasty as well.
Have you tried currywurst already?
Of course, it’s unavoidable if you live in Gelsenkirchen! (laughs) Whenever one of my teammates is celebrating a birthday, they treat us to lunch. There’s been a few times that currywurst was on the menu. I have to say, it was very delicious!