Just before the last meeting of the season in Lens, the German AS Monaco goalkeeper spoke at length about his personality and his career as a football player up until the Principality. Maintenance.
He’s a character in his own right in the locker room! Still decisive in Lens during the 38th and final matchday of Ligue 1, with no less than eight saves, Alexander Nübel became a pillar of the red and blacks.
a collective soldier
Author of eight clean sheets in the elite in 2022, the one who still credits “the collective”, the German goalkeeper admits having had difficulties adapting to a new context. Now fully integrated and carried out at AS Monaco, the latter openly confided in his career, in a long unpublished interview with asmonaco.com, held at the end of the Open training, just before the last trip of the season. With the frankness and humor that characterize him. Meet.
Hello Alex! To start, you come out of an Open training. How did you experience this moment of communion?
I really like these formations open to the public, with all these children! In Germany we did this very regularly at all clubs, sessions that fans can attend. It’s rarer here, once or twice during the season, but it’s always a good time. It’s cool because they can see how we train daily.
And these are the AS Monaco fans of tomorrow, like little Valentino you gave your gloves to at the start of the season…
Yes it’s true. He was also there for Open training, I saw him and he was happy to see him again! It’s always a pleasure to share these moments with the fans, because we know we bring them happiness, so if they’re delighted, so am I (smile).
With Bouba, Valentino discovered his new room in the colors of his favorite club ❤️🤍 A magical moment punctuated by a surprise from his idol Alexander Nübel 🤩⚽️#PimpMeuQuarto #MagicMoment 🪄 @Afflelou pic.twitter.com/Axydqh00LO
— ASMonacoeur ❤️ (@ASMonacoeur) April 22, 2022
It’s not common, but when I was little, there was a 2-3 year period during which I wanted to be Pope! He’s a very important character, I don’t know. I always went to church when I was little, because I come from a Catholic family, so it was part of my daily life.
In your childhood dream
What did you want to do when you were a kid?
I come from Paderborn, a small town where the first team plays at a good level. And when I watched games or training as a kid, I was happy to see the players. It became a dream for me to become a professional football player, even if it wasn’t my first goal at the beginning, and I live it today. I’m very lucky.
What was your first dream then?
It’s not common, but when I was little, there was a 2-3 year period during which I wanted to be Pope! He’s a very important character, I don’t know. I always went to church when I was little, because I come from a Catholic family, so it was part of my daily life. Hard to say why I wanted to be the Pope (laughs)! And then football gradually took up a lot of space in my life, although I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to become a professional player. I just liked to play with my friends for fun. Then I got better and better and today I’m there (smile).
To go back to your start in Ligue 1, what is your retrospective analysis?
I knew it would be difficult to adapt to this new context, mainly because I played very little before arriving in Monaco. Everything was new to me: the country, the language, the culture and also my partners. After a little time to adapt, everything got better and better and I really feel very good, perfectly integrated into the team. We have a really good group and a great team, we get to know each other better and I’m happy to play with the guys every weekend.
For me, the decisive thing is not to dive, not to give an indication too soon to the opponent. I wait as long as possible and stay in front of the striker, because the longer I stay, the harder it is for him to choose a side.
About your attitude towards the attacker
We feel that the mood is very good in the group…
He’s really good today, that’s obvious, there’s good osmosis, and not just with the German team (smile). The connection between us is strong and you can see it on the field. Against Brest, for example, where we were down 2-0 quickly, and against whom we got a magnificent comeback, it seemed. It is in these moments that you can see, as observers, the state of mind that reigns in this group.
Tell us about your two great saves against Brest to keep the team in the game…
For me, the decisive thing is not to dive, not to give an indication too soon to the opponent. I wait as long as possible and stay in front of the striker, because the longer I stay, the harder it is for him to choose a side. The first stop is more of a “block” in my opinion, while the second is a pure reflex at the last moment. This one was the hardest to pull off in my opinion because it required a very quick reaction on my part. I think I’m a little lucky at the end, because if we’re 3-0, the game could be over. We finally scored that goal that puts us back in the game just before half-time, and in the locker room we were determined to win this game. The first fifteen minutes of the second half were of rare intensity on our part, which allowed us to turn the score in our favor. Honestly, it was a big win for us.
How to clean your surface? 🧹🧼
Alex’ decisive against Brest ⛔️ pic.twitter.com/oQdoMST660
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) May 16, 2022
Which match was a trigger for the group and for you personally? PSG?
Of course, when the success is there and all the ingredients are there, the atmosphere is better and we can move on. Team building was also important to create a team spirit. So there wasn’t really a click match for me. I think the sequence of meetings and training, having more pace, had an impact on my performance. The connection with my defenders too, the fact that communication was better, made us feel calmer week after week. The weather played a very important role in my opinion in our results.
You made eight clean sheets in 2022. How do you explain this?
We defended very well as a team in the last few weeks. All defenders showed more serenity. It’s teamwork! When I finish a game without conceding, it’s not just my work that needs to be highlighted, the credit goes to the collective. It’s really my state of mind.
Do you have a funny locker room anecdote to tell us?
What happens in the locker room should stay in the locker room (laughs)! It must not be disclosed to the general public.
Going back to the beginning of your career, you weren’t in the goal at the beginning…
In fact, I started my career as an outfield player, in the number 6 position in front of the defense. Very solid! I scored a lot of goals with my head. And then, when I was 14, I had to choose between staying on the field or going in goal. It was a difficult choice for me, but they explained that I would have more chances to make my place as a goalkeeper. Looking back, I think it was the right decision to make.
It’s really a very special position in Germany. There are even specialized coaches for goalkeepers in club training centers, such as here in La Diagonale and in France. There is a very good level of training.
About goalkeeping in Germany
What memorable memory do you have of these early years in football?
There are two things I think about. My professional debut at Schalke 04. It was an unforgettable moment for me. And I would say that Euro Espoirs with Germany in 2019 in Italy was also a milestone in my young career. It was my first tournament with the Under-21s, and playing for his team is for me the most important thing you can achieve.
Do you dream of defending the colors of the German national team now?
It’s every child’s dream to one day play at the Nationalmannschaft. I think it’s the same in France! It’s something very different from everyday life at the club. So it’s part of my dreams to defend the colors of Germany, even if it’s not an obsession, because I’m already very happy with AS Monaco.
What makes the German goalkeeping school so successful in your opinion?
It’s really a very special position in Germany. There are even specialized coaches for goalkeepers in club training centers, such as here in La Diagonale and in France. There is a very good level of training. And it is true that it has always been important for Germany to have very good goalkeepers. In terms of style, however, there are real particularities. It’s difficult to explain, but we have a game closer to the goalkeeper in handball, which is a very popular sport here and in which we perform very well. The focus is on training, including for the youngest. It was not my case, as in Paderborn there was only one goalkeeper coach for all teams! He coached the pros in the morning and then took care of the under-19s, under-17s and under-16s. There was only one session a week with all the goalkeepers, and the rest of the time we were with the rest of the team, which was an advantage for me, in terms of shooting.
Who was your idol at your post at the time?
In the past, I’ve always liked Jens Lehmann, who played like me at Schalke and then rose to prominence at Dortmund and Arsenal. And then, when I arrived in Gelsenkirchen at precisely 18 years old, there was Ralf Fährmann in the goal. A very good goalkeeper, who helped me a lot to learn and progress. He inspired me a lot, with his style and way of training on a daily basis. Oliver Kahn? I was still a little small and I must say that, above all, I was a big fan of Jens Lehmann.
And if you had to turn down your ideal guardian…
To kick, I think the best is Marc-André Ter Stegen. For the reading of the game, Manuel Neuer is obviously the strongest, as in his lineup elsewhere. There is also Thibaut Courtois who is very good in front of his own goal.
Tell us a little about your life in Monaco now…
I feel very good in Monaco. I live here with my partner, which is very important to me, because she supports me a lot. After a few months we also established a good connection with the Germans in the group, also off the field. It is essential for me to share something besides football on a daily basis, after training, to talk and think about something else. Anyway, I think I’ve adapted quite well to life here over time.
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to AS Monaco fans for always supporting us and coming to see us in large numbers, especially abroad.
About Monegasque fans
Finally, do you have a message for AS Monaco fans?
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to AS Monaco fans for always supporting us and coming to see us in large numbers, especially abroad. We are very happy to have you by our side, and we hope you are always there, through good times and bad. It’s very important to us.
Thanks for the support throughout the season. 🙏
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) May 21, 2022