Insights & stories

"There was never another option"

Ten questions to Yann Sommer, "Credit Suisse Player of the Year 2018." 

Yann Sommer; national team; football; national team; national team

You were voted "Credit Suisse Player of the Year" for the second time, following your win in 2016. Which is more difficult: the first award or the confirmation?
Both were difficult, because the competition is tough. I was very pleased about it this year too, and it's confirmation that I've done a lot of things right. But without strong players up front, you have no chance as a goalkeeper. That's why this award also goes to the whole team.

The fate of a goalkeeper is similar to that of the referee: Every mistake has serious consequences and you come under fire, which makes it even more difficult to win such an award.
Maybe. If I'd messed up four times at the World Cup, I'd presumably not be holding this trophy. But mistakes are part of it. They also give you an opportunity to improve.

Do you sometimes long for the easy life of the outfield player? For the joy of the striker who scores a goal and is feted by the other players?
No. There was never another option for me. I only wanted one thing from a young age: to stand in goal and catch balls. Maybe it's genetic. My father and my uncle were both goalkeepers.

You were voted best goalkeeper in the second half of the Bundesliga season by the magazine "Kicker." Is Yann Sommer better today than he was in 2016?
I think I've been able to improve again thanks to my additional experience. I'm calmer today, and am better at dealing with pressure. And it pays off that my lifestyle is now more professional that it used to be. I'm very aware of what I eat, take care of my body, and am supported by an osteopath. I just try to get whatever I can out of my body.

What was your best save last season?
I think it was in the World Cup match against Costa Rica. I managed to reach a well-placed header from close range in the bottom right-hand corner. You just stand up and think: It's for just these moments that you put in all the work every day.

Which player have you conceded most goals to in your career?
No idea. I'm good at forgetting about opposition goals.

And who shoots the hardest?
Granit Xhaka is certainly one. But the spin that certain goalscorers can put on the ball is almost more difficult than how hard the shot is.

You're also a passionate cook and have a food blog. What was your favorite recipe from last season?
It varies, depending on the foods that are in season. One new discovery is the good old parsnip. Root vegetables can be used to make lots of different dishes and they're healthy too.

You were lavished with praise for your outstanding World Cup performances. Which compliment were you particularly pleased with?
Every compliment makes me happy. And the more qualified the giver, the better. I was especially pleased about what Gianni Buffon said; he's a huge role model for me.

And which question are you fed up with hearing from journalists?
The question: "When will Switzerland finally get through to the quarter-finals at a World Cup or European Championship?" Even if that's our ambition, for Switzerland, reaching the round of sixteen three times in a row is not to be taken for granted. That's something we should always remember.