David de Gea happy at Manchester United and wants reach hero status
By Patrick Davison
Last Updated: 17/01/16 2:36pm
Ahead of Manchester United's Super Sunday clash with Liverpool, David de Gea gives a rare interview in English to Sky Sports' Patrick Davison, declaring his desire to stay with the 20-time top flight champions and become a club icon...
It felt like a massive moment, the Theatre of Dreams coming alive as Anthony Martial burst past Martin Skrtel and then, after a split-second of calm, erupting as the 19-year-old slotted the ball past Simon Mignolet with all the coolness you'd expect from the 'new Thierry Henry'.
By the time he was done, Liverpool were beaten, the Premier League had a new star and Old Trafford had a new hero, but there was another huge story that day. In fact, there was another huge story in the warm-up.
That story was the return of David de Gea and the ear-splitting reception he received from the home fans as his name was announced before kick-off.
"I cannot describe how I felt in that moment," said the Spain international, who had been ready to return to his hometown and play for Real Madrid.
"In another country, at another club, the fans would not be the same as at Manchester United. They are some of the best in the world, it was unbelievable."
De Gea's move to Madrid collapsed amid administrative chaos and finger-pointing between two of the world's great clubs on deadline day - four days before the Liverpool match and at around the same time as the club were making Martial the world's most expensive teenager.
It looked, initially, like a temporary reprieve, like De Gea would be lost to Madrid on a free transfer the following summer.
But a lot has changed since then. Firstly, De Gea signed a new contract and now, even if, as many suspect, that contract contains some sort of release clause, Madrid have been banned from transfer activity for the next two windows, anyway.
They could yet make a move in the last couple of weeks of January but a transfer seems unlikely. The very fact he was happy to do a rare interview in English with us for this week's Super Sunday indicates that he's settled and the club are relaxed. They and he could easily have dodged it.
"I'm happy, I'm enjoying it and I believe in the team," said De Gea, not sounding like a man on his way. In fact, when asked about the feats of Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar, he sounded like a man ready to dedicate at least the next few seasons of his career to the club.
"They were the greatest goalkeepers in the Premier League, they are legends for this club and that is what I want."
I train every day to be the best goalkeeper in the world, that is my aim.
David de Gea
In keeping De Gea, United clung on to a man close being the best in the world in his position and a man with the hunger to get even better.
"I train every day to be the best goalkeeper in the world, that is my aim," said the stopper who this week finished behind only Manuel Neuer in the voting for the FIFPro World XI.
"I'm not sure who the best is now, but it's what I want. Also, to win trophies for Manchester United."
It's easy to forget now that De Gea's early days at United were dogged by high-profile errors and criticism. He thought about leaving back then, at a time when there wouldn't have been anything like the same clamour for him to stay.
"The early days were difficult, there were some moments when I thought, 'This is not the place for me, I need to go back to Spain'," said De Gea, talking of a time when a mistake against Blackburn back in 2011 cost his team the game and him his place in the side.
"But I worked hard, in the gym and on the pitch. And I fight, I fight a lot."
The hard work and the fight paid off. De Gea has been United's Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons. He's excelled at a time when the club have been in transition and the team underperforming.
That's why last time against Liverpool was so huge. United hadn't just gained a new hero, they'd kept an old one.
It looked like he'd gone but David de Gea stayed. On Super Sunday, Liverpool will have to find a way past him.
Watch the full interview with De Gea on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 1pm