Kai Havertz has revealed his affection for donkeys and why some of his Chelsea teammates refer to him as one.
Following the launch of his new charity Kai Havertz Stifung on Wednesday, which is inspired by animal welfare and expanded to youth development and elderly care, the 23-year-old opened up on his ‘special relationship’ with animals and in particular donkeys.
The Chelsea attacker revealed, in an interview with The Guardian, that his club teammates call him one now for reasons deeper than football.
He said: “Some of my teammates call me Donkey. It’s not because of my football. From day one, I felt a special relationship with donkeys. It’s a very calm animal: maybe I personalised myself in them because I’m calm too. They chill all day, don’t do much, just want to live their life.”
Havertz was given three real donkeys when he turned 18 after having a cuddly toy during his younger years, and revealed that from a young age he used his adoration for them as a form of escapism from the tension of professional football.
“I love them (donkeys) always. And when I lost I would go to the sanctuary. You look at the animals, see something human in them. It was kind of a recovery, a place I felt peace.”
The attacking-midfielder turned striker has endured an inconsistent spell in London since joining from Bayer Leverkusen for a then club-record fee of around £71 million, experiencing both highs and lows.
However, after scoring in each of his last three games before the international break against Borussia Dortmund, Leicester City and Everton, he will be hoping he can continue his upturn in form heading into the final months of the season.
Having scored nine goals in 36 games in all competitions this season, the 23-year-old detailed the pressures which come with hefty transfer fees, imploring Chelsea fans to be patient with their new signings.
“A dozen players arrived since the summer; it’s not easy. Enzo (Fernandez) and (Mykhaillo) Mudryk have come for a lot of money and they’re only (22) you know?” he added. “You cannot expect them to be Neymar straight away. It’s like me: it takes time.”
Having gone through a tumultuous year on and off the pitch, Havertz also spoke of the mass changes he has overseen at Chelsea in the last 12 months.
“As a player, you don’t notice the ownership change so much but we have a new team, new manager, new staff. A completely new changing room, so many personalities. You have to adapt, build a relationship.”
Havertz, whose goal saw Chelsea beat Manchester City in the 2020/21 Champions League final, also drew comparisons with the trophy-winning campaign which saw the Blues lift their second European Cup.
When asked if he can see parallels with the Champions League and Chelsea’s salvation under a new manager in 2021, he replied: “One hundred percent”.
Chelsea currently sit in 10th in the Premier League and are out of both domestic cup competitions, with the Champions League their only chance of lifting silverware this season.
With a quarter-final tie against Real Madrid on the horizon, the Blues will be hoping their young and vibrant squad can gel together to lift their second European Cup in three seasons and the third in the club’s history.
In the immediate future for the Blues lies a home fixture against Aston Villa, where Kai Havertz will be keen to ensure all three points stay in the capital.
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