David de Gea has told AS that Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke personally to him last week during his visit to the Spain camp to apologise for the defamatory comments he made about the player being involved in a sex scandal which turned out to be completely false. The keeper feels that Sánchez should also go public with his apology, but acknowledged that the majority of public figures who were disrespectful to him during the 'Torbe Case' have not tried to make amends by apologising to him in private.
De Gea also spoke about how he sees Spain's chances at World Cup Russia which gets underway in just a few days' time.
This will be your third major tournament but the first as Spain's first choice goalkeeper, are you approaching in the same way, or differently this time?
It's the World Cup finals and whenever you are competing in a tournament at this level, whether it's the Euros or the World Cup, you always go into it with the same hopes of doing well, helping the team and being a strong side; we are all full of hope going into these finals. Spain have a great team, we have a good group of players and we can't wait for it to start.
De Gea, Spain's undisputed No.1
Does the fact that you are first choice make you feel any calmer?
I'm usually very calm, but when you know that the coach and your team mates have total faith in you, it means you feel more confident going out onto the pitch; that helps me remain calm and able to help the team.
Spain's campaign opens against Portugal, winners of Euro 2016, how do you feel about starting against one of the most attacking sides in the finals?
We know that it's always important to get off to a good start at the World Cup, and particularly this time because we are up against a tough and difficult team. We hope to be in the same dynamic we were in in the qualifying rounds, play our own brand of football and with a bit of luck, beat Portugal.
You'll be facing Cristiano; do you like to study rival players, find out more about their technique, preferences for shooting on goal?
Cristiano has been well studied, I think everyone knows what his attributes are. He's a brilliant player, one of the best in the world. But Portugal isn't just about Cristiano . they have a great side, they won the Euros and are in a good moment of form. Having said that, Spain are also a good side and it will be a tough game; we'll be trying to do the best we possibly can.
As usual, there's been a lot of talk about the World Cup ball and how it might affect goalkeepers. What's your verdict on it?
I'll have a clearer idea after the tournament. They keep making the ball more complicated for goalkeepers, but it's the same ball for all of us, we have to adapt to it as best we can in training not get too obsessed about it.
In Spain, we've grown accustomed to a high level of football and if the team doesn't win, it's seen as a fiasco...
That's very typically Spanish - when everything's going well, people think we are always going to win and score three or four goals in every game. But it is very difficult to maintain that level and play perfectly in every match. Our qualifying campaign was almost perfect and our idea is to carry that through in the finals, with a little luck and the team we've got, hopefully we can go far.
Sometimes it's almost as though we have a selective memory and tend to focus, not on Spain's performances in the last two tournaments but in three previous ones which we won.
People stick with the good memories, they remember the good football, but they don't know how difficult it is to win a game at the European Championships or at a World Cup; it doesn't matter who you play - it's always difficult because football is becoming more evenly balanced. We have a great national team but every game is a battle for us.
You have been absent from the media spotlight for a while now, you give few interviews - have you lost trust in the press?
There was a moment when I wasn't being treated as I deserve. A lot of people have been very unfair to me. People have criticized me knowing that it wasn't right and nor have they come out to recognize they were in the wrong, or rectify what they said. Some people don't deserve the time for an interview and that's just how it is.
Are you referring to what happened before Euro 2016, the claims which were shown to be false? Or criticism for sporting issues?
It wasn't about sporting matters it was personal issues, things which affect you. I think some people didn't behave properly.
What do you remember about that time?
I'm a quiet, peaceful guy and I'm not usually affected by things - personally, I wasn't too affected by it but I have family, people who are close to me and it's not right that they should be affected. It's all water under the bridge now. It was shown to be all lies and it's in the past.
What did Pedro Sánchez say to you when he took he aside the other day during his visit to the Spain camp? Did he say sorry for unfairly insinuating that you were guilty in 2016?
I accepted his apology with good grace. The thing is, that, what he said at the time was said in public which is why I think he should also apologise publicly. But it's also true that most of the well-known figures who showed a lack of respect towards me haven't apologized at all - not even in private. It's very easy to talk about other people behind their back in this country.
But you are ok with criticism when it deals with sporting matters.
Of course. This is football, we all make mistakes and all of us get criticized. And when you are a goalkeeper, criticism always gets more attention.
Have you instructed your agent not to bother you while you are on duty in Russia if any offers come in?
Football is football and millions of things can happen. But I am always relaxed, whatever crops up, I'll always be the same and I want to be 100% focused on the World Cup.
Have you asked him if he's fixed the fax machine?
(Laughs) They can fix it if they want. These days most people use email. (laughs)
Is your best save yet to come?
Of course! I always try to make a save which is better than my last one - hopefully I can make a few decent ones at the World Cup.