There is no doubt that Austrian centre-back David Alaba has established himself as an international superstar. Few players can match his trophy haul on the club level with Bayern Munich, but since moving to Real Madrid, he says he does not want to be compared to club legend Sergio Ramos.
Alaba was expected to take the former captain's number 4 jersey when the latter announced his departure this summer. However, even with Ramos eventually moving to France to join Paris Saint-Germain, Alaba initially decided against taking over the number even after the club's encouragement. However, he was left with no choice due to La Liga Santander's rules on limited shirt numbers.
"Number 27, which is the one I wore at Bayern Munich, is not allowed in LaLiga and the club wanted me to wear No.4," Alaba said in an interview with Sport Bild. "Sergio Ramos is an absolute legend. His performances on and off the pitch make him a role model. But I am Alaba and I don't want to be compared to others, I want to write my own history here," he added.
La Liga only allows jerseys up to the number 25, and with most other numbers already taken, Alaba had to take on the pressure. Ramos left massive shoes to fill, but the Austrian remains confident.
He signed with Real Madrid on a pre-contract agreement back in January, before finally making the move when his contract with Bayern Munich expired in June. He is delighted to be working under manager Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of Bayern Munich in 2016/17.
"As a person he is very honest, and as a coach he has an incredible amount of experience. On the first day, Carlo greeted me in German, so there's something left from his time in Germany. But then we spoke in English," said Alaba.
He also added that former Bayern Munich star Toni Kroos was instrumental in helping him adjust to his new life as a Real Madrid player.