Orlando - Having missed the final league match of the 2014/15 Hinrunde through injury, Bayer 04 Leverkusen midfielder Gonzalo Castro is eager to prove his fitness at the club’s winter training camp in Orlando, Florida.
Speaking to bayer04.de, the 27-year-old explains why he was training separately on Saturday, reveals what the Leverkusen players have been getting up to in the Sunshine State and looks ahead to die Werkself's clash with Club Atletico de Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final...
Question: Gonzalo Castro, we’ve been told you know the area around here quite well already?
Gonzalo Castro: That’s true, I was in Orlando last summer. Roberto Hilbert has a holiday home around 20 minutes from our hotel and I visited him and his family there. I don’t have to go to Disney World anymore, I’ve already been (laughs).
Question: You missed the last game of the Hinrunde through injury. Are you back to full fitness now?
Castro: So far everything’s fine. After our game against Hoffenheim I had a few muscular problems, but the treatment in December worked well and I was able to get plenty of rest during the holidays to make sure I get back up to speed.
Question: You were training individually on Saturday though…
Castro: That was just a precaution. After the exertions of the flight we decided it was best for me to train by myself, but now I’m back with the rest of the team.
Question: If you could make one wish for the second half of the season, what would it be?
Castro: More consistency at home! At the BayArena in particular we’ve dropped a lot of points - that’s something we have to stop doing this year.
Question: Leverkusen are playing Club Atletico de Madrid in the UEFA Champions League in February and March. Was your family in Spain happy with the outcome of the draw?
Castro: (laughs) They were. I’m sure they’ll be two good games - Atletico are an outstanding side. We’ll have to be at 110 per cent to stand any chance of beating them.
Question: What have you and your team-mates been getting up to in between training sessions in Florida?
Castro: Rest is top of the agenda, but we do as much as we possibly can as a team. There’s supposed to be a golf course nearby, we might end up going there at some point. Otherwise we just mess around on the PlayStation or go to a cafe at the hotel. Yesterday we went to look for crocodiles at the lake next to the complex, but I didn’t see any unfortunately. My team-mates are one up on me in that respect.