david rum (Nuremberg, 1998) was the most positive note of the German team in their World Cup training. The RB Leipzig winger, the last to arrive at the four-time champion in the world, signed a great game with which he presented himself to the world as one of the most fit defenders today. Raum sits down with MARCA to analyze this group E in which Spain is and to tell his story, that of a 24-year-old boy who has only been playing in the league for a year. bundesliga after several seasons tumbling around the Second and Third. A striker until very recently, the German international hides very amusing anecdotes about the beginning of his career and the first call from Hansi Flick for the selection. Known in Spain for his quarrel with Fede Valverde in the Champions League match, he also clarifies what happened in the Bernabou after receiving threats.
Ask. How do you feel after debuting in a World Cup?
Response. Well, it’s not the result we expected, honestly. But we still have room for maneuver, we are not eliminated.
Q. And on a personal level, the experience of playing in a World Cup? It was one of the best…
R. It’s crazy, like my last three years, which have been incredible. I was playing in the second division of Germany and now I am playing in the World Cup. It is more than a dream come true, because I had never really dreamed of something like this.
Q. You are in a World Cup and as a starter with only one full season in the Bundesliga!
R. It’s what I tell him. I was in the second division and my dream was to play a game in the Bundesliga, to have that opportunity. And now I’m playing the Champions League at RB Leipzig and a World Cup. I have played 12 games with the national team and in this short period of time look at everything I have achieved.
Q. How did your sudden jump to the elite come about? He is 24 years old and not long ago he played in the Third and Second…
R. I was a center forward, until I was 19, until the age of youth. And he also played on the right wing. And there was a time when he almost didn’t play, things weren’t looking very good. Then, in training they put me on the left side because he was the only one who had a powerful left foot. Imagine the anger! No striker wanted to play defense, I wanted to score goals, show that he could play by scoring goals.
The case is that they put me there and after the anger I began to see that it was good, that I had the qualities to play there. The coach made me learn that position and I realized that it was useful, that I could attack, that the team could take advantage with my crosses… and that’s how I started. I went up to the Second Division with this team and then Hoffenheim came to sign and play in the Bundesliga. And after a year there, RB Leipzig came last summer and signed me to play in the Champions League. Incredible!
Q. And what do you say now to those coaches?
R. Thank you. I think the first time they put me there it didn’t make sense [risas]. But I have learned a lot and that was the moment when my head clicked. In the last two seasons I have given 15 assists in each of them.
Q. And you’ve barely been in the national team for a year.
R. Yes, I have 12 games. They called me in September 2021 for the first time, when I had barely played two Bundesliga games with Hoffenheim. Hansi Flick has given me a lot of confidence and wearing this shirt is incredible, because playing for a country is the best.
Flick called me when I had played two games in the Bundesliga and I thought he was calling me from the furniture guy for the new house or a delivery man, so I didn’t answer him because we were going to train
Q. How was that call from the selector?
R. It’s a great story. I arrived at Hoffenheim from the Second Division last season and when I have played two games the phone rings. It was before practice and I was in the locker room changing. Since I didn’t have the number, I didn’t pick it up. Since we had just moved in, I thought it would be the ones from the works, the furniture, or a package. They called again and I thought: how they want to talk to me. I didn’t take it, because I had to train and I preferred to talk at home, later. The phone stops ringing and I get an SMS: “I’m Hansi Flick, call me.” I started to shake and ran out of the locker room to call. I thought he would tell me he was looking at me, but no. He told me that he had been following me for a year, since I was in second grade and that he was going to call me up. It was the worst training of my life! I couldn’t believe it.
When I got home it was crazy, everyone was super happy. Imagine: two games in the Bundesliga and the national team! My girlfriend couldn’t believe it, we went out to dinner and had a glass of wine. It was something to never forget.
Q. Has a lot of family come to Qatar?
R. Only my girlfriend, the rest I will see from home. My girlfriend is the most important part of my life right now and she is here cheering.
Q. It was not an easy group… and it has not started well.
R. Yeah, we knew it was going to be tough. They are all very good teams. Japan have a lot of players from the Bundesliga, with a lot of quality, and they have shown to be a good team with the win against us. But the group is still open
Q. Spain thinks the same, that the group is open.
R. Before the debut, I have spoken with this about Dani Olmo, who is a good friend of the club and I told him that they had a great team. We were commenting that perhaps Spain and Germany were not the favorites for the World Cup this year, but that we are powerful and be careful. Spain has players who are crazy, apart from Dani who is a crack. I have a lot of respect for Spain and I think it will be a great game.
Dani Olmo is my friend and I know his tricks in the field, but I’m not going to say them in case it makes me not seem stupid
Q. Do you have a very good relationship with Dani?
R. Yes, we get along very well. He unfortunately has been injured at the start of the season, but he ended up playing. He’s a great guy off the pitch and I love playing with him. Go directly to ask for the shirt.
Q. The two starters at the premiere… Surely at some point they will face each other in the same band. Some stick will hit him, right?
R. [Risas]. I like to play against the best and also with Dani I know his tricks, but I’m not going to say too much that if I sit down later I’m going to look stupid [risas]. In the field there are no friends, but then I will give you a hug.
Q. Do the four stars on your chest weigh a lot?
R. Playing with Germany is a great responsibility, because of the history it has, because of the players there are… But the pressure is part of the game and I like it. I train very hard to be prepared for all challenges.
Q. Play with legends like Neuer, Gtze, Gndogan, Müller…
R. They are world champions! It is an honor for me. I remember the first day of training with the national team, it was incredible, because I practically came from Second Division and I had never seen those players up close. They were footballers I had never played against. I only knew them from TV, so imagine what an honor. Now we even have our hero from Brazil, with the return of Gütze! It is an honor for me.
Q. Where were you on the day of 1-7 in Brazil?
R. I watched the match with friends, at home. It was incredible to see the fans of Brazil cry, nobody believes it. It is a historic match.
I have the utmost respect for Fede. I raised my fist to my fans to celebrate a block on Kroos and I thought it was for him, he would never do something like that to him
Q. I have to ask you about a controversial issue. What happened to Fede Valverde at the Bernabu?
R. I am glad that you asked me this question because it is something that I wanted to clarify because many things have been said, especially in Spain. All part of a mistake. I am a player with a lot of passion on the field and in the first half I cut off a cross from Kroos and sent the ball to a corner. He went next to our fans and what I did was raise my arm to celebrate with them, a gesture of anger, but the problem was that Fede was just passing by and they thought it was him.
I have the utmost respect for Fede, who is one of the players who has grown the most and one of the best now at Real Madrid and LaLiga. It was not a lack of respect, neither against Fede nor against Madrid. It was my first time at the Bernabu, an incredible stadium for a club that I admire a lot.
The problem is that after this, my girlfriend and I were threatened on social media. It was very unpleasant. Then he celebrated the goal in front of me and I assume it, but I didn’t do anything to him, it wasn’t for him. It wasn’t my fault, I had that gesture with my fans and it really wasn’t for him. But that’s it, if I see him in this World Cup I’ll be happy to shake his hand. I hope people now know what happened. I am an emotional player, but very respectful. I hope I can go to Madrid and Spain without problems [risas].
After what happened with Fede, they threatened my girlfriend Yam, it was unpleasant. I understand that Fede would get angry if she thought she was going for him, but she wasn’t. It was important to clarify
Q. Did you ask Rdiger for help to clarify it with Fede?
R. I haven’t spoken to Fede, but I know that he told Rdiger what happened. I don’t know if I told you something. I understand Fede’s reaction, because he is a very passionate player too, but I would never provoke him.
Q. Fede is a good boy.
R. I’m glad to hear that, because Uruguay went crazy with it. But it’s over now, thankfully. My respects to Fede.
Q. Perhaps in the future you will be at Real Madrid. Because seeing his progression…
R. It would be a dream, perhaps. I don’t close any doors. I am very happy at Leipzig, but Madrid is a crazy club.
Q. Did you have a game in mind before the World Cup that made you particularly excited to play?
R. The dream is the World Cup and the next thing we have is Spain, which is a great team. I like to play against the best teams in the world and Spain is. I have great respect for the country and the national team, with such good players.
Q. What atmosphere is there in the selection?
R. The atmosphere is good, really. We are 100 kilometers from Doha and here we have many things to do. Games on the beach, a cinema to watch movies together… The atmosphere is very good and we are friends off the pitch. Here I have not brought the Play, for example, I prefer to play Uno and don’t watch the games we have at night: there are pitfalls and we make some shouts that can be heard throughout the hotel.
Q. I see that you also like tattoos a lot.
R. Yes, a lot.
Q. Which was the first?
R. The first ones I did when I was 16 years old, on my heels, two crosses to protect my feet, which is what I need to play. In summer I always take the opportunity to get tattoos, I love them. You see me many, but keep doing.
Q. And the most special?
R. I wear it on my chest and show it off when I score a goal. Living the Dream (living a dream), puts him. The last two years have been crazy for me, that’s why I did it, because all this is a dream.