It was already clear on October 14, 2009 that the Stade de France would have a permanent place in David Alaba’s career.
Because you only celebrate your international debut once, and Austria’s best footballer of all time entered the national team stage for the first time in Saint-Denis.
In front of 78,000 spectators, Austria lost 1:3 in a showdown with France in the World Cup qualifier.
Only nervous during the day
Alaba was sent onto the field as a left-back for Christian Fuchs by the then team boss Didi Constantini in the 80th minute, making him the youngest ÖFB team player of all time at the age of 17.
“It’s been a while,” grins the Real Legionnaire 13 years later, “I was definitely nervous that day. But when I was standing on the sidelines, I was just dying to get on the field and close show what I can do. Accordingly, I was really happy that I got my chance.”
It should not have been the last appearance in the French national stadium that was important for his career.
ups and downs
Only last May he conquered the Champions League title with Real Madrid in the Stade de France.
His second appearance was far more unpleasant than the third. On June 22, 2016, Alaba lost 2-1 to Iceland with the national team, which meant the bitter end at the EURO 2016 – one of the absolute low points in the Viennese’s otherwise very successful career, which he has obviously already pushed aside a little.
“I wouldn’t have thought about the game against Iceland if you didn’t remind me,” Alaba smiles, “that was definitely not a nice moment.”
In general, the now 94-time team player says: “There are mixed feelings, ups and downs. If you look at these three games, I was able to experience great moments here and certainly one moment that wasn’t so nice. The anticipation of the next game is certainly very large.”
The followers also have world-class format
Alaba match number four at the Stade de France (8:45 p.m. in the LIVE ticker) is certainly not a CL final or the final chance of progressing at an EM. However, staying up in the UEFA Nations League with an away win in France would also be worthy of all honor.
Everyone in football in Austria knows that Austria is trying to do this as an underdog. “But the basic attitude is the same as always. We go into the game to be successful. We are all aware that it will not be an easy task. But we will do everything we can to be successful,” promises Alaba.
It is “certainly not a disadvantage” that France have to do without twelve players, but at the same time the defender puts it into perspective:
“The absences may be serious from their point of view, but they still have a good squad. The players at the back are world-class and don’t play any role at their clubs. That’s why it will be so difficult for us.”
Praise for Tchouameni
“My primary concern was when Karim would be able to play for us again at the club. I asked him about that.”
With Karim Benzema, a real colleague of the ÖFB star must also fit. After the end of the summer break, he talked to the striker about the 1-1 draw in the first leg, this time the international match was not an issue: “My primary concern was when he could play for us again at the club. That’s what I have him for rather addressed.”
However, Alaba does not have to do without familiar faces from Madrid, with Ferland Mendy, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni there are three other Real kickers in the squad.
Asked how Tchouameni, who came from Monaco in the summer for 80 million euros, has already fitted in, Alaba says:
“You actually noticed from day one what kind of player he was. He brings a lot of quality and potential and is a player who helped us right away. Accordingly, he also plays at this level and also in the national team of France.”
It won’t be easy against Mbappe
The French’s key player, however, is undoubtedly Kylian Mbappe. Team boss Ralf Rangnick has a clear idea of how to defuse the star striker.
As a defender, Alaba will naturally have a lot to do with Mbappe.
“It’s no secret that he has the quality to decide a game. How do you defend him? Of course it’s difficult – if he’s having a very good day, then it’s not. We have to play defensively as a team and fight back fully. We’ve seen a few times that this is possible, even if it’s certainly not easy.”