Log in

No account? Create an account
14 February 2012 @ 11:43 pm
Sami Khedira & Lena Gercke In GQ Magazine - Fully Translated.  
"There's Nothing Perfect About Our Relationship. It's Really All Quite Normal"
Interview with Lena Gercke, Sami Khedira
GQ Magazine.
February, 2012

Translated by jenny_jenkins
Pictures downloaded and gifs created by andriy_7

The photographer calls out: "Pay Attention, it's time!" But Lena and Sami don't care about him. They go on kissing and cuddling as though he isn't there, as though the 15 other people aren't there either, as though in the whole wide world it's just the two of them.

Dearest Lena, dearest Sami, unfortunately we are going to start off with a smarmy tabloid-newspaper sort of question. How do you become such a perfect couple?

Lena Gercke: I don't think we're perfect. We have a very nice, but very normal relationship. Happily that is what we were both looking for.

The boulevard press calls you the German Beckhams, but until now you have avoided being open about it. Why is that?

Sami Khedira: We are both open people and were clear from the beginning that we'd have to deal with it. On the other hand the beginning of a relationship is a delicate phase that we didn't want to risk. We didn't want to share with everyone.

Lena: Besides that there's nothing to reveal. As we said, there's nothing spectacular about it. We met through aquaintances, fell in love, 'that's it'.

Sami, you are normally in Madrid. Lena has to jet around for work. Does one require something special for this type of long-distance relationship?

Sami: If both of us want something, then it works out. Of course it's different when you work in the same city and meet up in the evenings on the sofa. But if you want something from the heart, then it works out. I think it's a lovely thing, when we don't see each other for a week and look forward to the moment when we are together again.

Lena: We do thing ordinary couples do too. Sometimes [when we are out] people want Sami's photograph but that's to be expected. I have my house in Berlin and another in New York. I needed, after the helter-skelter of the past few years a home-base where I can unwind. And that is here with Sami in Madrid. We live rather quietly when I come here because I have no interest in going out, just being together.

What does it mean to you that Lena is no typical player's wife - that she already has her own very successful career.

Sami: We were equals from the beginning. Both understood some of the complications of the other's life. For example - that kids do sometimes follow me around and want their shirts signed.

Is there fall-out when one of you gives autographs and the other isn't asked?

Lena: Our relationship isn't a competition in giving out autographs. That would be absurd. It would also be rather sobering in Germany, for me, if it was.

Sami: It also goes the other way around, that Lena is in the spotlight and I'm the one who's asked to take photographs.

You have both followed your goals very ambitiously. Sami was an elite athlete, Lena tried out in one competition after another.

Sami: Today it can't be any other way. You have to have a clear idea of what you want early on and then work for it. If you want to be one of the best then you have to take initiative and not chatter on about it too much. You have to plan it all yourself, and also that you have fun at it.

Lena: I had no plan to become a model. I took part in two castings, but didn't count on having a chance. I thought it was funny. I didn't believe it could happen.

You both talk a great deal about performance, overcoming obstacles, ambitiousness. Why are these qualities considered objectionable by so many people?

Lena: We are both very self-critical and expect a great deal. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we sought these things out ourselves.

Sami: If you want to be at the highest level then one must take criticism as it comes. Talent is nothing without self-discipline.

Lena: I'm not very disciplined.

Sami: You are, definitely.

Lena: In my job maybe, privately not.

Sami: Everyone has their weaknesses and everyone needs their time off. But when it comes to one's job it has to work out. I first realized, through Lena, that it was like that in other professions too.

How do you cope with the often harsh criticism? When a German cabinet minister, for example, ridicules his press-spokesman in public he has to apologize. The tone with which Heidi Klum criticized you, for example, was extremely harsh. And the press, when it criticizes Sami, is even harsher.

Sami: I have a very thick skin. Occasionally though I do sit in front of a newspaper article and wonder to myself why they bother going to such lengths. But one must never forget: we live in a very public world. And in football, emotions play a huge role and one must consider that these things are written for effect.

Lena: I marched into "Germany's Next Topmodel" quite unprepared and didn't think about it much. The critique I had to put up with [from moderator Heidi Klum] was never anything I took personally. Sometimes I wonder why the press would be so unfair sometimes. There's little concern over the individual. I try to consider it psychologically - that so much interest is taken in our failures.

Do you criticize yourselves?

Sami: I can say absolutely that we trust each other 100%. We can talk about anything at all - even things that might be uncomfortable.

Lena: I've been away from my family for years, always travelling alone. Naturally Sami is the most important person I talk to. Nearness and trust are the most important things.

Sami, you are one of those football players who actively fights back against criticism.  Is it something in your masculinity that causes you to resist swallowing it? [This is a reference to a press conference Sami called in October and an interview he gave a day later when he was with the National Team during which he hit back at the German media for "lacking respect"]

Sami: As a man perhaps, but above all as a person. If someone brings someone else down simply to make the newspapers then I don't like it. I give very few interivews. When I do it is because I have something to say.

With Mesut Özil or David Odonkor there's constantly a discussion about integration in the background. How is it with you Sami? Does your Tunisian background influence you?

Sami: Sometimes I was eyed critically, because I didn't look typically German. But we identified from the beginning as entirely German - my entire family. Discipline, punctuality - these were grounded into me as values. My father in particular put a great weight on these things. I think it is important to make an effort to fit into the environment you have chosen to live in. And not just to do your own thing. It was a good school for me to experience these things. I understand how to appreciate small things - but we're both like that.

In Berlin, summer 2011

A successful footballer and a model have something in common: they earn a great deal of money at a very young age. How difficult is it to resist buying 5 Ferraris at once?

Lena: Not in the least bit difficult. I was brought up to be thrifty and Sami was too. We have that in common.

Sami: I always knew how much I was earning, how much I had, and how much I needed. One shouldn't be too critical of someone who buys a Ferrari when he can afford it. The relationships between these things simply have to work out.

How did you experience the revolution in Tunisia from a distance?

Sami: I was very moved by it. I often asked my father what was going on, most especially in his old neighbourhood. Unfortunately there were many tragedies. People that we knew lost a great deal, some of them their lives. When we were last there on a visit it was still nice though to see how people were enjoying their freedom.

Lena: We were there together. It made a huge impression: the happiness and thankfulness with which people were experiencing it.

You live and work in different countries at the same time. What can you learn about Europe - or our continent?

Sami: That one must respect other mentalities and that one has to adjust to them. These are simple truths that you simply learn - that one can be at home anywhere. For me it was curious that it was in Madrid that I first became aware of my "German virtues". Mesut Özil and I are "the Germans". The Spanish are the way they are. One has to accept it. They appreciate our virtues in our work a great deal, but when you have an appointment with a Spaniard at half past seven then it really means half past nine. Half an hour late, that's really very punctual here.

At a skating-gala this past November.
You both represent Germany abroad in different ways. How do you perceive the role the country is taken. What reactions do you get personally.

Lena: To be quite honest, it's not a theme in my business. I work every day with people from all over the place and where they are from doesn't play a role.

Sami: The picture that we as a national team have shown to the world has changed entirely. We were always seen as hard
(Wir galten frueher immer als Holzer), in the meantime we've come to represent other things. We also represent a picture of a multi-cultural Germany and that is noticed. There was only one difficult moment during a national team trip to Israel when we were greeted by children with a Nazi salute. In that moment one feels thoughtful, even as a German with an immigrant background.

Finally - one more smarmy boulevard-press question. How is your relationship going to develop. Do you have plans?

Sami: We've been together for a year and everything is wonderful.

Lena:  We're young, we're happy to have each other. Plans are unnecessary.

GQ Meets Up With Sami Khedira & Lena Gercke


hola kheridamyscheherazade on February 15th, 2012 06:05 am (UTC)

exploding with love all over the place
Emilydarkensunrise on February 15th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Gosh, they're really cute.

Thank you for translating!
soccergirl63: Lena-Samisoccergirl63 on February 15th, 2012 07:13 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the translation! ♥♥
I hope so much that people finally realise now that there is more to this GQ-thing than just some pics ... And thanks for putting in these beautiful gifs as well - What a wonderful couple! :))
Jenny Jenkinsjenny_jenkins on February 15th, 2012 07:16 am (UTC)

I posted it, as you asked, at hala_madrid and also at loewsmiserables

It made it up by Valentines Day in Canada, at least!

soccergirl63: Sami - Thumbs upsoccergirl63 on February 15th, 2012 07:29 am (UTC)
Re: ♥
Good girl ;))
Actually I think it's good that you've waited a couple of days, until things have settled down a bit ... now people can really concentrate on the INTERVIEW, which is so worth reading!
Chiara: Samikiaretta985 on February 15th, 2012 11:55 am (UTC)
Jenny, you rock, seriously.
thank you for this!!!
Kmapmakerscolors on February 15th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
How are they allowed to be so perfect? Seriously, how????

Thank you yet again for translating <33333
Jenny Jenkinsjenny_jenkins on February 15th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of player-couples off-hand and I couldn't think of a single one that is THAT genetically blessed.!
Kmapmakerscolors on February 15th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
I had ANOTHER Sami dream last night. I used to think I just never had dreams about people I knew (or knew of)--but I guess my subconscious was just holding out for perfection. (He was a bartender. Waking up from that dream was like the worst thing that's ever happened to me.)
mello_marchmello_march on March 5th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Ferrari!? :D
Sami: "One shouldn't be too critical of someone who buys a Ferrari when he can afford it."

AAAAHHHHH! We know, who just purchased a ridiculously expensive Ferrari, don't we, Sami? Good boy, always standing up for his friend!
Jenny Jenkinsjenny_jenkins on March 5th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Ferrari!? :D
I don't think we should give Sami too much credit.

Sami's interview is almost two months old and may have been done before that.

Mesut's silly over-priced toy was bought only this month ;)

Perhaps he felt he needed Sami's permission!
mello_marchmello_march on March 5th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Ferrari!? :D
I beg to differ. The avarage delivery period for an "ordinary" new car in Germany is not under 2 months, much less so for a special order as Mesut's new Ferrari (hey, I waited 3 months for a bloody Skoda!). Sami must have known. I'm sure. :-)

Edited at 2012-03-05 09:58 pm (UTC)