Munich - Marco Caligiuri and Nicolai Müller have known each other for quite some time. They first played together at SpVgg Greuther Fürth and later became team-mates at 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Caligiuri now plays for Eintracht Braunschweig, while Müller has scored five goals in four appearances for Mainz this season. Although they no longer play in the same team, they remain close friends, as Caligiuri told bundesliga.com...
bundesliga.com: Mr Caligiuri, you are close friends with Nicolai Müller. How often are you in touch with each other, considering he’s still at Mainz and you’re at Braunschweig?
Marco Caligiuri: Of course we don’t see each other every day in the changing room anymore, but we keep in touch over the phone. We call each other once a week.
bundesliga.com: You met Nicolai Müller for the first time when you joined SpVgg Greuther Fürth from MSV Duisburg in 2007. How did you get to know him?
Caligiuri: The way one usually gets to know a new team-mate. Things were normal at first, but as the years went by we got along better and better and became good friends. Near the end of my time at Fürth in particular we spent a lot of time together. We also went on holiday together with our girlfriends. We remained in touch when I moved to Mainz one year before he did.
bundesliga.com: You both made the breakthrough at Fürth during the 2009/10 season. Was that a coincidence or did you help each other, being such close friends?
Caligiuri: We lived very close to one another and spent a lot of time together off the pitch. Back then, we spoke a lot about football and were able to spur each other on.
bundesliga.com: Did Nicolai Müller move to Mainz at the right time?
Caligiuri: Yes. He was so consistent with Fürth in Bundesliga 2 and proved over several seasons what a good player he is. It was time for him to take the next step. Mainz was predestined for him. The club had always recognised his potential and he’s repaying them right now.
bundesliga.com: What are his outstanding qualities, from a sporting perspective?
Caligiuri: His pace, his quick dribbling. He has also become a much better finisher and has learned to stay calm on the pitch - he now knows when to speed things up and when to keep hold of the ball.
bundesliga.com: And what’s he like off the pitch?
Caligiuri: Nico goes out there to win. He is a bad loser, but in a positive way. He is hungry for success and that hunger is coming to the fore right now.
bundesliga.com: How would you compare the Nicolai Müller of the early Fürth days and the Nicolai Müller of today?
Caligiuri: Nico has become much more mature in every sense and is now playing at a very high level in the Bundesliga. He has been through highs and lows, which is unusual. In Fürth, he was naturally disappointed when he wasn’t playing much early on. He matured a lot as a result and is now able to deal with setbacks a lot better. That speaks a lot for his personality. It makes him strong.
bundesliga.com: Is Müller a winger or a proper striker?
Caligiuri:: I actually see him as a right-sided player, but he’s playing just as well up front at the moment. He was sensational on the left at Fürth.
bundesliga.com: Nicolai Müller was part of the Germany squad during the USA tour, but wasn’t called up for the qualifiers against Austria and the Faroe Islands. Do you think he’s capable of becoming a permanent member of the national squad?
Caligiuri: If he keeps playing the way he is, it’s only a matter of time before he gets called up again. But for now, he’s just focusing on this season with Mainz and whatever else happens is a bonus.
bundesliga.com: Are you seeing him again in the near future?
Caligiuri: Yes, soon. We wanted to go to Berlin together.