Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal sat down to chat to AS after taking part in a promotional event this week to promote new video game, Call of Duty WWII.
You've been asked to present a videogame - many footballers use them to mentally unwind from the stress which competition can bring…
I've been into videogames since I was a kid, I used to really like shoot 'em-ups and so I quite like this one, Call of Duty WWII. It's true they do help to take your mind off things and help you to relax - and have a good time...
E-Sports became fashionable last season with several Spanish clubs forming VRFO teams such as Real Sociedad, Valencia and Leganés. Do you think Real Madrid should join in and follow the trend?
It's an emerging sport, and it's getting more popular. As for Madrid, if and when they see the need to form an eSports team, they'll join the other clubs. I'm all for it...
Sleepless night after El Clásico
Ok, let's talk about football. Did you manage to get any sleep after El Clásico?
It's difficult. When you are playing such an important game, your mind is always churning over. It was difficult getting to sleep. You are going through every move in your head. But the next day, when the sun comes up, you forget about it and move on. We are sportsmen and we have to pick ourselves up. It was a tough defeat but we are Real Madrid. We're at an end of what has been a fantastic year for us and we've still got six months of the season to go. I'm convinced that we'll be battling for the rest of the competitions we're in.
2017 was an historic year with the team winning five trophies, but it was a strange way to bring the year to a close…
It was an opportunity for us to crown a fantastic year. Now we have to make the most of these holidays to disconnect as much as we can. We'll have January to look forward to and it's going to be a great challenge for us.
Carvajal comes to Kovacic's defence
Many people have been discussing whether it was a good choice to field Kovacic in the Clásico and not Isco. And also Kovacic allowing Rakitic a free run at goal because he was ordered to man-mark Messi...
Mateo decided to cut Rakitic off from making a pass but that allowed him to keep running forward. These are decisions which you have to make in a split second. Even if he had tracked Rakitic then he would only have played the ball wide to Messi... You never know what outcome the decisions you make will have. I don't think Mateo did the wrong thing - in fact I thought he had a good game.
Zidane insists that the league isn't over despite having a 14-point disadvantage (with a game in hand). Is that how the players feel too?
Yes, sure... We haven't lost the league yet and nor have Barcelona won it. It's a lot of points to make up but we are going to try to win the games we have left and we'll see if we can lift the trophy in May. You don't win or lose the league in December.
How can you explain the difference between the Real Madrid side which were too powerful for Barça in the Supercup back in August to the one that lost El Clásico 0-3?
That's a very difficult question to answer. Football matches are decided by small details. My sending-off had a lot to do with how this Clásico turned out. We had a good first half, we pressed Barça well and they were uncomfortable. But certain, fine points decided the game. Among them, was me getting sent off - for what was a reflex action which you do in desperation to try and stop the ball going in. Over the summer we put in some good games but we also conceded goals too quickly. But that's football and whoever has played this game knows that your situation can turn the other way around from one moment to the next...
Considering the difficulties of winning LaLiga, would being eliminated by PSG in the Champions League represent a disaster for Real Madrid? Will the season be in play in February?
I don't see it like that. The PSG tie is going to be very tough, they have very good players but we'll be giving it our best shot. We'll be giving everything we have. You should never see failure as a catastrophe. You have to do what you are capable of doing whether you win, lose or draw; that way, when the final whistle blows you can hold your head up high.
I feel worse than the fans when we lose - Carvajal
What about madridistas, how can they maintain morale for what's to come?
I know it's difficult. I myself was a fan just like them - I've been going to the Bernabéu since I was a kid and whenever we lost a game, I'd go home feeling bad. And now, as a player, a defeat makes me feel even worse... That's the way I feel. It's us, the players, who have to show with good football and victories that Real Madrid have still got a lot to say this season. These are cycles which every team goes through. There were games last season which we didn't deserve to win but we did. Now football is being unfair with us. We are the reigning European and world champions and we've got a lot more to prove. We'll give everything we have so that our people are happy and so that they can see that we are a good side.
So, to sum up, Madrid are not yet down and out?
That's right... absolutely no way.