Naldo: “I’d be delighted if there were lots of mini Naldos”

Over the past half a year, Naldo has been one of the best defenders in the entire Bundesliga and made the moment of the season so far with his equaliser in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. However, the 35-year-old is good-humoured and speaks as a team player in an interview with about the birth rate in Gelsenkirchen, the training camp in Benidorm and how well the new signings have settled in.

Naldo, Ralf Fährmann joked after your equaliser in the derby that the birth rate in Gelsenkirchen will be very high in August – nine months after the game – and that many of those babies will be named Naldo!
He said that to me too. It made me laugh a lot. But why not!? I’d be delighted if there were lots of mini Naldos (laughs).

You’ve had a fantastic first half to the season and you were one of the best defenders in the entire Bundesliga. The team haven’t lost in the last 13 competitive matches in a row. Did the winter break come at an unfavourable time for you and the team?
As far as I’m concerned, I would’ve liked the season to continue after the DFB-Pokal game against Köln. It’s not been an easy task for other teams to face us recently. Luckily, the break isn’t too long and the season will get underway again in just a few days. I hope our success continues and we can extend our unbeaten run.

The training camp has almost reached its end. What do you think of the team’s work over the last few days in Benidorm?
I think we’ve put our heads down and focused. The training has been hard, but it’s been varied. Every single player has shown their eagerness in the drills because we’re all hungry for more wins in the second half of the season and we want to kick things off straight away in the match against Leipzig.

As far as I’m concerned, I would’ve liked the season to continue after the DFB-Pokal game against Köln.


You were in sunny Brazil over the holidays. It was also pleasantly warm in Benidorm. Are you worried about the cold in Germany?
A bit (laughs). We’ve been spoilt with sun recently. However, it’s still winter, but luckily I don’t have too many problems adjusting to the cold. I’m so focused in the games that I sometimes just don’t notice the temperature at all.

Pablo Insua has returned to training after his pericardial inflammation. How is he doing?
Pablo is feeling good and he’s just happy to be back at work on the pitch. We’re all delighted for him. I speak to him regularly and I know how it feels to have to sit out for a long period; it’s not a nice time. We’re all crossing our fingers that Pablo will be able to play again soon. He’s a good lad.

The club have signed two new players in Marko Pjaca and Cedric Teuchert. How are they settling into the team?
Both were a part of the team from the moment they arrived. We welcomed Marko and Cedric with open arms and we’ve helped them to feel at home. Cedric speaks German and already knows a few of the guys. It’s a bit different for Marko; a lot is new for him of course. But Matija Nastasic and Yevhen Konoplyanka are taking very good care of him as they speak his language. The whole team are being very warm and welcoming towards both the lads. There are no egotistic players here; we’re a team and every player is a part of the team.

Now we’re in the injury time of our interview – Naldo-time, as it were. So, you can knock out an answer now.
Okay, what do you want to know?

Did your roommate snore in the training camp?
I had a single room (laughs loudly).


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