Hany Mukhtar joins from Benfica on loan | Our new signing gives first interview

FC Red Bull Salzburg have boosted their attacking midfield options by signing Hany Mukhtar on loan from Benfica.

The 20-year-old German under-20 international has signed a loan contract for one year (with a transfer option) with the Red Bulls, having left Hertha Berlin for Portugal at the start of the year. Hany Mukhtar will play with the shirt number 23.

Christoph Freund, head of football, says on the transfer:

Mukhtar is a very versatile attacker and plays in a position that we want to get someone in after the departures of Felipe Pires and Marco Djuricin. He is a player who we can use right away, and he will help us immediately.

Hany Mukhtar is one of the biggest talents in German football, although despite his young age, the nimble attacking all-rounder has perhaps already outgrown that tag. The under-21 international is set to be a key player for FC Red Bull Salzburg after joining from Benfica.

In an interview, Hany Mukhtar tells us about his footballing career to date, the people who he wants to thank and why the decision to join FC Red Bull Salzburg was an easy one.
 

“I just really want to win titles with this team!”


You are one of the biggest talents that Hertha Berlin has developed in the last few years. After ten years you decided to leave Berlin for Benfica. When you are so deeply rooted with a club and a city as you were, that can’t have been easy. How did it come about?

I joined Hertha’s youth team really early. It was a really amazing time, and I was able to develop there really well. I was even a German champion at under-17 level and got into the first team aged 17. After two-and-a-half years with the pros, I decided in the winter to join Benfica. I don’t regret that decision in the slightest, as I developed very well in Portugal and have become more mature. Now I am looking forward to my new challenge with FC Red Bull Salzburg.

A year ago you were a European champion with the Germany under-19 national team and scored the decisive winning goal in the final against Portugal. With Benfica, you won the Portuguese title this year and performed impressively again at the under-20 World Cup in New Zealand [scoring three goals in the 8-1 win against Fiji and one in the 5-1 win against Honduras).

They are all great memories, but they are all in the past now. Now I am concentrating on my present and future at FC Red Bull Salzburg, and of course I would like to win further honours.

Your role in the team is already defined at FC Red Bull Salzburg. In attacking midfield you are being entrusted with compensating for the departures of Felipe Pires and perhaps also Marco Djuricin. Why did you decide to join Salzburg?

Red Bull Salzburg are a great club with big ambitions and a very good team. As a footballer you just want to play football, as that is the only way to further develop. I have this chance with Red Bull Salzburg, and I really want to win titles with this team.

Do you know anything about the Austrian Bundesliga?

A little. I’ve seen FC Red Bull Salzburg mainly in Champions League and Europa League qualifying, but I’ve also found out a little about the Austrian Bundesliga and the opposing clubs. You don’t truly get to know a team until you play them, however, and hopefully I’ll have plenty of opportunities for that.

How would you describe yourself and your playing style personally?

I’m not a fan of analysing myself. I prefer to allow others to do that. Really I only need to be pleased with myself and my performance. As I am very ambitious, I always find new ways to work on myself and improve.

Are there people who have been particularly important influences in your life so far?

I think the two people who have most inspired me, encouraged me and supported me are my parents. They are always behind me in the decisions I take, and I will always be thankful for that.