Orlando - The back end of 2014 didn’t quite go according to plan for Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Italian right-back Giulio Donati, but starting with the Bundesliga World Tour 2015 training camp in the United States, the 24-year-old is hoping to get off on the right foot in the New Year.
, who are staying in the same hotel as Brazilian
opponents Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, kicked off their training stateside on Saturday with a unit either side of a lunch break and will be sticking to that regiment on Sunday and Monday as well. However, there was a setback with news that Donati’s fellow right-back
will return to Leverkusen on Monday after tearing a muscle in his left thigh. Speaking to his club's website
following the first session at the
, Donati discussed his recovery from injury and the joy at being involved in first-team affairs once again.
Buongiorno Giulio. It’s great to see you back on the training ground. How’s your shoulder?
It’s all good. I worked very hard in rehab before Christmas and the injury has healed well. Perhaps I could’ve been fit enough to play in the last match before the winter break but we didn’t want to take any risks. Now I can give 100 per cent again.
The injury happened in the UEFA Champions League match against AS Monaco at the end of November. You suffered a torn ligament in your shoulder.
Yes, that’s right. I fell awkwardly when I was fouled and I noticed straight away that something wasn’t right, but I wanted to keep playing to the end. I couldn’t move my shoulder properly the next morning and had to rest it for a couple of weeks. It makes me feel even happier to get fully involved here in Florida.
Have you ever been here before?
No, I haven’t. But my grandparents have told me a lot about it. My grandad is a big Harley fan and he’s been to Florida to buy a bike in the past.
Have you inherited that passion?
Absolutely. My grandfather often used to take me with him and I was allowed to sit on the bike. They’re very heavy and it isn’t without its risks. So I don’t ride one myself.
This training camp is a change from the usual routine not least because of the distance travelled. Have you ever done anything similar?
I remember one time at FC Internazionale Milano. We went Dubai when Jose Mourinho was in charge. There were loads of people there who wanted to watch how a European team trains. It’s true the USA is different compared with staying in Europe, but the training sessions are still the main focus at the end of the day.
That’s probably true. How was the first session on Saturday morning?
Good - and tiring. I hope it get’s a bit warmer than today’s 14 degrees, but the pitch is right next to the hotel and it’s in great condition. It’s time to get stuck in again after two weeks off.