Takumi Minamino is a thoroughly friendly but quiet perfectionist. what allows our japanese attacker to bring his performances to the next level? he tells us his top tips in an interview.
Football is a sport in which everything can be decided by hundredths or thousandths of a second. Being able to seize your chance in the tiny window of opportunity is made possible by meticulous preparations. Who better could there be to talk about this topic with than our tireless workhorse Takumi Minamino?
How do you perfect your preparations for matches?
We have tough matches to contest. I also have a role in which I have to move a lot. You have to train these kind of things. I need a lot of strength and speed. I do a lot of weights and sprint training. The focus is on the core muscles.
How do you look after your body?
You really have to look after your body a lot yourself, make sure you get plenty of sleep and a good diet. Stretching and resting are vital. I also get regular massages, which gives me an extra boost when regenerating my body. You have to do that before your body gets tired.
How do you focus to be able to put in top performances at the right moment?
When I am on the pitch, it's all about winning. I don't think a lot about where I am or what I am doing. I am deliberately in this state that allows me to concentrate on the important things. I don't notice the atmosphere in the stadium or the fans celebrating. I'm in my own world.
How do you set your aims?
That is something personal. It's difficult to say on a given day if we are going to win or take a certain number of points. I only have a limited influence on that. There are a lot of factors that influence success or failure. What you can always ask yourself though is: have I done my best today? Can I do more? That allows me to always be sure that I've performed to my maximum potential.
Are there moments too when you despair and get depressed?
Depression? I don't know about that [laughs]. I think that football is a series of errors, and if you look at any match you'll find bits that are good and bad. Of course I'm frustrated if I make the wrong decision in a particular situation. There is no point in dwelling on mistakes though. I have to keep on trying and look ahead.
What do you always take with you?
I'd like to say something a bit different, but my iPad and headphones are essential.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Above all from players who are physically similar to me like Aguero, Griezmann, Hazard, Inzaghi and Raul. I find it incredible how they score 20 goals or more per season as strikers without a massive physical presence. I love players who can make a difference in the penalty area.
Where do you recharge your batteries?
Over the whole year we have three weeks' holiday. I spend over half of it relaxing in Japan. We have very good food and tranquillity. It is very important to totally switch off every now and again.
What music inspires you?
When I meet up with my friend Sei Muroya (of FC Tokyo), we always swap playlists. He has a good feeling of what is cool at the moment [laughs]. I like to listen to Japanese music, as it helps bring me down.
What do you eat?
I live alone so it is not so easy to always cook for myself. The team mostly eat in the morning and at lunchtime. Nutrition planning goes beyond these two mealtimes though. I have a favourite restaurant where I often eat prawn noodles. Mostly I eat powerfood. When I am missing Japanese food, I often drive to Munich to shop.
Thank you for the interview!