Gelsenkirchen - An embodiment of reliability in the Royal Blues defence and one of Japan’s greatest recent exports to the Bundesliga, Atsuto Uchida has been one of the building blocks of FC Schalke 04's recent success.
bundesliga.com: You have played under several coaches now at Schalke and you renewed your contract last summer. What is it about the club that you like so much?
Atsuto Uchida: If you’re a professional footballer, you just have to love playing in this stadium. The atmosphere, the passion of the supporters and the reception you get when you jog on to the pitch are all so unique. I just love playing here.
bundesliga.com: What has changed for you since you arrived in 2010?
Uchida: I’ve just settled in so well, and really feel good playing my part in this team. That’s how I can continue to develop. I’ve developed very close friendships with some players, like Julian for example.
bundesliga.com: And finally, are you aware that you’re a bit of a heart-throb to many female fans in Japan?
Uchida: Yes I am. My teammates often say at training, “Hey Uschi, your fan club is here again.” I give them all autographs of course, but to be honest I’m quite a shy person and I have to deal with fewer fans here than in Japan. So I’m happy really, because in Schalke I get more peace and quiet!
Interview by (bundesliga.com/jp)