Simon Kjær interview before Denmark - Faroe Islands
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Simon Kjær interview before Denmark - Faroe Islands

Interview: Discovery+ · 10 Nov 2021

This interview with Simon Kjær before Denmark against Faroe Islands was broadcast on November 10, 2021.

Special thanks to Randi for the incredible effort to translate this into English.

Simon Kjær interview before Denmark against Faroe Islands

Nice to have you. How are you?

Kjær: “It's going really well. I had a hard match this weekend, but it should be out of my body tomorrow.”

You are at the top of the list, right after Napoli and only on one goal score difference. What are the prospects for AC Milan right now?

Kjær: “We should get better, compared to last season. We finished second place, so there is only one place up to go for. But from saying that to getting there, is a really long way to go, and a lot of work. I would say, before we started I would probably have sold it for 9 wins and 2 draws after 11 matches. So it has been a great start and I think we have developed as a team.”

“We have built a base. But it looks really, really nice. We’ve got some talented players who have made the team grow even more. So it has been an insanely cool start.”

Something people talk about of course is Ballon d’Or. The nomination, it is of course a huge honour. Have there been any comments from AC Milan about this Ballon d’Or nomination?

Kjær: “Yes, of course there has been. I knew I had a good year, both on the National Team and with Milan, but even I was surprised about that nomination. But it's a clap on the shoulder and a gift to me. To the way I have played in the last year. So it's amazing. It's insanely cool to be a part of what you can say, the last 30. But like the mentality I have and the person I am, I also know that there are really very many people who do something, so I could get the opportunity to get there.”

“I play for two teams, Milan and the National Team, and if we hadn’t been successful, then I would not have personally success either… Things go a little hand in hand.”

One of your teammates was nominated for this award, Zlatan Ibrahimović. Simon, when you came on Instagram, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a story where Reseppten (Old popular danish football song) was played, and like welcomed you on Instagram. Has he given any kind of shoutout again on your Ballon d’Or nomination?

Kjær: “No I do not think so, and it was such a bit of a new territory for me to get on into social media, I have of course…”

You are not so used to it?

Kjær: “No, and I must probably also say ... that’s not where I give most of myself. I'm a very private person, taking care of my privacy, but of course I also have some followers and some fans, and an obligation to line up for it.”

“I could easily give a lot more of myself. I think it's a process. I'm a little old school maybe, and a little old-fashioned in relation to those things. So, those are things that take time. So, it's going to develop quietly, but no he's not had a shoutout, and it's not just something I'd asked him for. And I'm not so much into it.

And in relation to Zlatan, Simon, I have counted, he has been nominated 11 times for Ballon d’Or. He’s not been nominated this year. It’s you. Did you tell him that it is you who’d now the King of Scandinavia?

Kjær: “No I don’t. I don’t think there is any reason for it, because I know well his answer.”

What would he say?

Kjær: “I keep it between us, there is no reason for us to make a lot of headlines here. He’s on the National Team (for Sweden) now, and he will probably make his own headlines there. I will not be in them.”

There has been extremely much focus on you this year, you have received several awards, and media all over the world have been writing about you. On Friday, Simon, there you have to pay tribute at Parken, because of 100 matches. Of course in the meantime you have played even more matches. How do you really feel about all that attention? Can it get a little too much for you sometimes?

Kjær: “I actually have mixed feelings about it... I really appreciate the publicity I have received, but just in relation to what happened at Parken against Finland, well, I’ve always made it very clear every single time, when some who would pay tribute to me or something, that it is not me, it was the team.”

“We handled it as a team. Of course, we reacted instinctively to the situation, in the position we had on the field, but I had not been able to continue doing my things as a person, just as the others couldn’t, if we didn’t have each other. As a team.”

“And every single time I have been awarded a prize, or whatever, it should be, well… there I have always said I accept it on behalf of the team. That's the only way I'll accept it. And it will continue to be so. But of course, you appreciate it.”

“But it's one thing, and then it's the football that is also incredibly important to me. For example, Ballon d’Or, it has nothing to do with what happened in the match against Finland. And it's also something I've asked about directly, because then I would basically not want to be there at the list. It should not define me as a football player what happened. It's two different things. The football player has been at least as good in 2021 as the others.”

Who did you ask and what answers did you get about whether it (the Ballon d’Or nomination) was a tribute to what happened at Parken? Why was it important to you?

Kjær: “I just got it, what can I say, it is two very different things. So, it was made very clear to me, because it was important for me to understand for me too. It should not go in and overshadow my qualities on the pitch, my abilities as a football player. It is very, very important to me because there are two things that are separated from each other.”

I just need to know, now there are two matches left of this qualification and I'm almost sure you want to win both matches, without conceding goals at all. So, it kind of looks perfect, but if you have to choose: what would you prefer, win both matches and then concede two goals, or play 0-0 in the last match in Scotland, so you’ll keep a clean sheet throughout the qualification?

Kjær: “No, of course we want to keep the clean sheet and win both matches. I can’t choose one or the other, because there are coincidences in a match where our mindset to the matches is not to conclude some goals and win. And build on the way we play football, the way we constantly optimise our game. You can’t make me choose one or the other. I'm a defender so I go in and play every game and we all do that to keep the zero. But we must also make goals. We have to play cool football. In the end, it's about winning the football matches. It is better to win than to keep the zero.”

You chose a little anyway...

Kjær: “I had to...”

Then we take it back to our editor, because we were told you had to choose. And in relation to Ballon d’Or, Simon, at the very end: who should actually win?

Kjær: “That's a good question. I think it is hard…”

If you had to choose based on the qualities you yourself value most?

Kjær: “It's not that simple. Because you have some people there in a category a bit to themselves. In Italy, there has been a debate about Jorghino playing player in Chelsea, who has won both the European Championship and the Champions League, but is he on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi? No, he is not, as a football player.”

“There are not very many football players who are as good as those two. And it's also because they've been there for so long and they keep being so insanely crucial in football, then they get too much credit for it, no they do not, it's something they have earned to get.”

“I think it's an insanely difficult debate there. I do not think I would have been in doubt about who would have won last year if it had been there. All that Lewandowski has done in his last season. But should he have it this year, because it was not there last year? It is not because he has been less good, he has still been insanely good, and continues to do well.”

“It's really, really hard to answer. I think that before I have to come up with my 100 percent qualified bit, I have to sit down and study what they have done exactly this season, to give an answer. But to me it is probably between the three (Lewandowksi, Ronaldo and Messi) because they have been at the top of their game for I don’t know how long and will continue to make a difference. No matter what teams they play on. I want to put it in between, those three, but I think it also depends on where you are from.”

It's a difficult debate. It's happening three weeks from now. We hope Simon Kjær is on that trophy when it is. Thank you for stopping by, Simon.

Kjær: “You’re welcome.”



Many thanks to Randi for the English translation. Tusind tak.

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