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Name Axel Witsel
Gender Male
Ethnic Belgian
Job Belgian Footballer
Desc There were many doubts over new Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel when the club signed him from China last summer. The €20 million (£18m/$23m) arrival had never played in one of Europe’s top five leagues, but he quickly silenced any critics with goals on both his cup and league debuts for Dortmund. The Belgium international helped make Lucien Favre’s team tick in 2018-19, finishing with the highest passing percentage out of just six players across the league who attempted more than 2,000 passes (93 per cent completion rate).

Affiliation

Org Belgium National Team
Club as Player Borussia Dortmund
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2018 04 07 Retrieve

[Axel Witsel speaks about his expectations for Russia 2018] I think for our team, for our generation it will be the most important World Cup. I think the team is ready, we are more experienced because we played in Brazil and in the European Cup in France. So I think we are ready but we have to play like we always do and game by game try to do better than in the last World Cup in Brazil

2019 07 29 Retrieve

[His team-mate Alex Witsel says Borussia Dortmund playmaker Marco Reus is as good a player as Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne] Yes, he (Reus) is qualitatively on the same level. For me, he is a top player. xxxx. xxxx. xxxx

[German international Reus was voted the Bundesliga player of the season last year, the third time he has been awarded the individual trophy] Of course he deserves it. He’s a fantastic player, his shooting technique is crazy. He’s a very important player for us, the club, the fans

2019 08 04 Retrieve

[Axel Witsel says even the Bayern Munich defenders were scared of technically strong and complete winger Jadon Sancho as he fired Borussia Dortmund to DFL-Supercup victory] Jadon is damned talented. Even Bayern’s defenders are scared when he has the ball. But that’s normal because Jadon just has a lot of quality. He is fast, technically strong and he can score goals as well as put his team-mates in the spotlight. He is really a complete player

[Witsel says things are coming together in training and is confident the extra competition in the squad will help them] We work very hard on defending in training because last season we just conceded too many goals. Especially with set piece situations we had problems. I think we’ve already improved because we work on it every day. The coach is doing a very good job. We have done well against Bayern. We will do everything to make sure that the title ends up with us in the end. It is a relatively large group, but also with a lot of quality. That’s why everyone has to go full throttle in training. It’s true that we could set up two good teams and I think we missed that last season. The competition is good for us all. Everyone has to be careful not to let up, but we can stay fresher that way. Sometimes, I don’t want to say in easy games, but if you lead maybe 3-0, it is possible to change things earlier and give some players a rest

2019 08 22 Retrieve

[Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel has opened up on the numerous transfers in his career that nearly went through, including moves to Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus] I could have joined Real Madrid when Jose Mourinho was there. But then Real signed Luka Modric, so a transfer to Madrid made no sense to me. Shortly before the end of the transfer period Zenit called. I had good discussions with the people responsible and finally agreed. I am an open person and was not afraid of Russia

My contract with Zenit expired and I wanted to move to Turin to Juventus. I had already passed the medical check and actually only had to sign the contract. I waited all day in the office and Zenit told me to come back. In retrospect, that was perhaps a twist of fate. Maybe it was just not the right time

[The right time eventually did arrive last summer as he joined Dortmund] First (Dortmund sporting director) Michael Zorc approached me, then (manager) Lucien Favre called me. I also had other offers, maybe I could have gone to Paris or Manchester, but I did not want to wait. And I had the feeling that I was the first choice for Dortmund. It is important to feel good when you go to a new club. So after the talks with Zorc, Favre and (CEO) Hans-Joachim Watzke, I decided to join BVB. Dortmund is a top club - and I really wanted to join a top European club. Maybe it was my last chance at 29 years old. It was the right decision

2020 01 25 Retrieve

[Axel Witsel salutes Borussia Dortmund’s teenage sensation] It’s crazy. To come on in the first game and score three goals, that hasn’t happened since Aubameyang. We needed a stronger striker, and the club did really good on this one. We’re all happy Haaland’s here

I asked him how he did it and he just told me, ‘I don’t know, I had the feeling!’. For his age he’s really strong. He’s tall, he’s big, he has a lot of quality. He can keep the ball. For a big guy he’s quite technical and in front of goal he’s a killer. I hope he’ll keep scoring like this for the next game

2020 02 18 Retrieve

[Axel WitseI on Erling Haaland] He is a goalscorer, he is 19 years old, he is really a great talent. I think he will become a future star. He has a lot of room for improvement. We hope to keep it as long as possible with us, but it is clear that it will become a big one

2020 05 31 Retrieve

[Sancho’s team-mate Axel Witsel predict the attacker will go on to become one of the greats of the game] I think he’s one of the best of his generation. He still has a lot to improve, to progress, because he is really young. But I’m sure in his position, as a winger, he will be one of the best

2020 06 28 Retrieve

[Axel Witsel has urged Borussia Dortmund to come back stronger next season after they closed the Bundesliga campaign with a 4-0 hammering at home to Hoffenheim] There is nothing to explain. They were more aggressive, had more motivation. We didn’t want to end the season like that. It wasn’t enough without a ball. We all have to defend together. If only a few players run and defend, it’s difficult to win a game. We may be the better team on paper, but it is different on the field

[Looking back on the season as a whole] We had ups and downs in the first half of the season. The second half was better, but of course we can do it better. Next season we will start the fight with [Bayern Munich] again