Transfer Policy. “I am not the right person to talk about Arsenal’s transfer policy. I am not the manager, nor the managing director. Of course I have an opinion, but I couldn’t influence the club’s decisions on their transfers.
My job is another job, so I don’t think it’s fair to talk about someone else’s work at the club. But moving on to Arsenal’s newcomers, I can tell you that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a great talent, and I can see a bright future ahead of him.”
Cesc Fabregas. “I miss Cesc Fabregas not only as a footballer, but also as a friend. I consider him to be amongst the top five players in the world, and of course he is almost impossible to replace - not only at Arsenal, but in almost every team.
Cesc came to London as a promising youngster and ended his stint as Arsenal’s captain and the club's idol. He did fantastic things here. I remember when he played with a broken foot against Barcelona. No Arsenal fan should ever forget this.
However, there comes a time when you feel you have to change. Cesc chose to go back to Barcelona, to his roots, to his home. I can understand him, even though his departure has been a great loss for Arsenal.”
Captaincy. “Wearing the captain’s armband makes me very proud. I have never had any problem in voicing my opinion in the dressing room. I always liked to stay with the youngsters for a chat at the end of a match or a training session, even before I became the team’s captain.
When I arrived at Arsenal I remember how interesting it was to have a conversation with Bergkamp and Henry and to discover their thoughts about the game.
During a training session a few weeks ago, I wasn’t satisfied with the level of intensity some of my team-mates were playing at during a five-against-three game. I told them what I thought, we discussed it and then things improved. It was a good moment.
I like the responsibility the captain’s armband gives you. A captain is expected to organise things – on but also off the pitch. When we went to play golf once, my team-mates expected me to organise everything for example, from the first seconds to the last hole.”
English Tradition. “It’s typically English to ask a new player to introduce himself to the team with a little speech, and to sing a song. In Holland, it doesn’t work this way at all!
Luckily I didn’t have to do this when I joined Arsenal. It was at a training camp in Austria and it was snowing. With a trembling voice I said: ‘Hello everybody, I’m glad to be here.’ Nothing else. Fortunately veterans like [Patrick] Vieira and Henry were still on holiday after the  European Championship in Portugal. So, nobody asked me to sing.”
Holland. “Over the last few years no team has improved as much as Holland. Spain have been at the top of the game since 2008 and Germany are still improving a lot, but during the last World Cup we performed better. France and Italy have experienced some difficult years.
Our coach Bert van Marwijk has given us a new mentality. One of the first lessons he asked us to learn was that every game and every training session are a new adventure. Forget about your past performances; every time a player begins from zero.
Holland supporters were disappointed after our recent 1-0 win against Moldova, something I found very positive because it means that our usual performances are high, and consequently the fans’ expectations are too.
Holland’s talent of the future? PSV Eindhoven’s midfielder Kevin Strootman. Under Van Marwijk young players do not get selected for the national team as quickly. However, when the coach makes an exception to the rule – like happened with Strootman – it means that the player is extremely talented.”
Samuel Eto’o. “I consider Samuel Eto'o the best striker in the world, alongside Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba. I have always been impressed with his mentality. He won three Champions League titles, scored in two finals, and lifted lots of other trophies. However, he still gives his best on the pitch, like a youngster who is hungry for success.
I have read a lot of speculation about his Anzhi Makhachkala move. I remember what his fellow countryman Alexandre Song told me about him once. Eto’o is said to have told a car salesman: ‘If I score 30 goals this season, I will buy 40 cars.’ Not for himself, but for his relatives and friends in Cameroon, so that they could start a business as taxi drivers. This is a fantastic story about this man.
What if a club offered me such a large amount of money? I can honestly say I won’t move to a club which does not play my style of football. But tomorrow, who knows?”
Life. “Family is the most important thing to me. I have two kids, and of course the priorities in my life have changed. I’m not saying I live like a monk, but there comes a time when you have to make a decision.
I’m deeply involved in my children growing up and it’s just fantastic. Of course, I can’t go out to clubs at night until the break of dawn anymore. Some players want both - their family and the night life. However, these are two completely different worlds. You have to choose one of them and focus on it. This doesn’t mean you can no longer go to a restaurant or see your friends – but you do it with a different point of view.”
Contract at Arsenal. “I know my contract with Arsenal expires in 2013 and I understand everybody would like to know more about my future. However, this is something private.
I have been fit for almost a year now and it is my desire to fully concentrate on football, both at Arsenal and for Holland. Every person writes their own history. Thierry Henry did it his way, Dennis Bergkamp too. And I want to do it my way.”
Fonte: Football World - December 2011, Anniversary issue