Bad Ragaz- Borussia Dortmund's latest recruit Henrikh Mkhitaryan is wasting no time getting to know the ins and outs of his new club.
Made to feel welcome
Having been presented to the media before featuring in his first fixture for the club earlier this week, the 25-year-old is now busying himself with learning German, as well as the songs he's expecting to hear from “the best fans in Europe".
After his protracted transfer negotiations, Mkhitaryan debuted for the Yellow Blacks in a 3-1 win against FC Basel 1983. A goal and assist later he was travelling with his new team-mates to their training camp in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. “I’ve been made to feel very welcome;” he told bvb.de. “The club is looking after me and that’s important for a new player.”
Mkhitaryan is at his fourth professional club in his still blossoming career and after spending the first years of his life in the south of France, is no stranger to moving to a new country and learning a new language - he already speaks Armenian, Russian, French, Portuguese and English. He has already mastered the basics: ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m tired’.
No Götze comparison
To many observers, he has been signed as a direct replacement for Germany international Mario Götze, who joined FC Bayern Munich at the beginning of the summer. However, Mkhitaryan, who finished as top scorer in the Ukrainian Premier League with 29 goals last season - from midfield no less - rejected the comparison.
“I am a completely different player,” says the man whose impressive displays on the European stage earned him a host of admirers as Shakhtar reached the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
Dortmund provided their opposition at that stage of Europe's premier club competition, giving the 39-time Armenian international his first taste of what playing at the Signal Iduna Park would be like. He’ll now have the privilege of playing every other week in front of Dortmund’s famously vocal fans.
He’ll also be playing with one in the case of Kevin Großkreutz. The Dortmund native is a die-hard BVB supporter and he has already begun schooling Mkhitaryan in the ways of the supporters. "Kevin is ensuring that I already know the most important songs," he says of his room-mate in Bad Ragaz.
Großkreutz famously said he’d consider adoption if a son of his was ever seen among the fans at rivals FC Schalke 04. Dortmund are certainly doing everything they can to ensure Mkhitaryan buys into the full BVB package.