Interview

Extra Time With... Kai Havertz

In the second edition of our new interview series speaking to the Chelsea players about their interests away from the pitch, Kai Havertz talks animals and gaming…

From the very first press conference the German conducted after arriving at Stamford Bridge, Havertz made his passion for animals, and in particular donkeys, clear.

Havertz remains close to the sanctuary he sponsors back home, while a puppy has helped his and his girlfriend’s assimilation to their new life in London during this unusual pandemic era.

‘We decided when we came here we need a garden and we need a dog,’ Havertz tells us.

‘It was clear for a while but I used to live in a flat in Germany with no garden and we didn’t have enough space for a dog.

‘After one or two months here, we searched for the right one. We visited some. We didn’t like the breeders who only want to make money off the dog. We found the right person, and now we have had him for six or seven months. His name is Baloo. We are very happy with him. He’s a golden retriever.

There are lots of good walks near to where I live, which is great for Baloo, although it has been very muddy recently!’

Idyllic upbringing

‘When I was very young we had a lot of animals at home. We had a German shepherd, a cat, rabbits, guinea pigs, and there was a time we had a horse in the garden. That’s how my love of animals started.

‘At weekends, I used to go to a forest in Aachen with my family with the dog. We would all get on a horse and ride it for one hour in the forest. My sister rode horses a lot so I would often go with her and watch her.’

‘I said of course I can help’

‘When I was about nine, my parents gave me a cuddly donkey for my birthday. I loved this small animal so much I told my parents someday I want to have a donkey or a farm with donkeys.

‘Then for my 17th birthday, my parents gave me a partnership with rescue donkeys. For example, donkeys that had come from the circus or the zoo and had been badly treated. You would pay money every month and then the people would get food for them and look after them. They gave me the partnership for three donkeys, and I could visit them and spend time with them.

‘One day, there was one donkey at the butcher who was eight months or nine months old, and this guy who had all the donkeys said to me ‘he’s at the butcher, can you help?’. I said of course! It all started with this donkey.

‘There are now four donkeys next to the house where my parents used to live. My parents, my sister and my grandmother are taking care of them. They are getting more and more in the next few years.’

A war on the consoles!

‘Gaming is something I do on days off, and after games when I cannot sleep. I started very young, playing with my brother on the Playstation 2. We played FIFA 2005 and 2006. It continues now for 15 more years!

‘FIFA 2005 was the year you could start making your own character. My brother and I built ourselves and then we played against each other and it was like a war! When I lost I got angry, some controllers were broken, so it was always very competitive even though he is seven years older than me.'

‘I sit one metre from the TV!’

‘I don’t game on my own now, I like to game with my friends and speak to them on the headset. That’s what I like the most about gaming now. It’s been a nice way to keep in touch with my friends in Germany since I moved here.

‘A game is normally about 25 minutes, and when you’re playing everybody is concentrated. I sit one metre from the TV with the headset on and you cannot speak about other topics!

‘After one round, then of course we talk about other things and make a joke. Sometimes we take it a little bit seriously, sometimes we have only fun, day to day it’s different.’

‘Gaming brings me down’

‘It has always taken me some hours after games to sleep. For example, after the Atletico game recently I went to sleep at about 4am or 5am because I had so much adrenalin.

‘You’re tired, your eyes are tired and you want to sleep, but it’s not possible. The worst is when you have a bad match and you go into bed and you think about what you could have done better. Gaming brings me a little bit down and gives me some other thoughts, so that’s nice.’

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