After spells in Italy, Germany, France and Turkey, Spain was the natural next step for Simon Kjaer as he joined Sevilla last summer.
Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, injuries limited him to just 27 appearances in what was a turbulent campaign for his club, but he will nonetheless captain his native Denmark at the World Cup – and you can check out these free football tips for the Russian showpiece.
Speaking exclusively to Football Espana’s Asif Norat in this second and final part of our interview, Kjaer told us all about his adaptation to Spanish football and whether he was better for it…
FE: If you could go back in time and give advice to an 18-year-old Simon Kjaer, what would it be and why?
SK: “I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I would not change a lot. I am happy with my career so far. I have been in many clubs, where I have always played a lot of matches, gathered experience and developed myself as a player and as a person.
“Now, I play in a great club in the best League in the world - and I am the captain of my country in the World Cup. In my private life I have a wonderful little family with my two boys and my wonderful wife. So I would tell myself as an 18-year-old to stay true to myself and always believe in my own values as a professional and as a person.”
FE: You’ve been playing in La Liga for a season. How well have you adapted to Spanish football?
SK: “It’s been frustrating for me to have too many injuries in my first season, but I have enjoyed playing for this great club with the amazing supporters. Actually, we have done well in a lot of great matches this season: We knocked out Atletico Madrid of the Copa del Rey, we knocked out Manchester United of Champions League, where we drew with Liverpool - who went all the way to the Final.
“And in La Liga, we beat Real Madrid and came so close to beating Barcelona in our home game, that ended 2-2. Last season was a bit too turbulent for the club and we have to be more consistent, but when you look at bottom line, the results are not that bad; the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the Copa del Rey Final and qualification for Europa League.”
FE: How has playing in La Liga helped you improve as a player?
SK: “A football career is one long education, where you will always learn and develop. And playing at the highest level - in the best League in the world is a great challenge that develops you as a player in general. Even the teams from the bottom half of La Liga have a very high level of football.”