Gelsenkirchen (dpa) – No one expected this return to the Schalke environment. The signing of former defense chief Naldo to Revierclub at the end of September was a real surprise coup.
But the 38-year-old Brazilian is not supposed to maintain the Bundesliga club’s struggling defenses, but rather bring his professional experience as an assistant coach and, most importantly, make the connection between new head coach Manuel Baum and the team.
For the relatively ridiculous transfer fee of around two million euros, Schalke had the line of defense transferred to AS Monaco in January 2019. A few weeks later, current sporting director Jochen Schneider took office in the Ruhr area as successor to Christian Heidel. “When I arrived here in March 2019, everyone told me it was a big mistake to let Naldo leave shortly before. He was a leader and like a father for the team, ”Schneider recently explained in the“ Kicker ”interview.
As a coach, Naldo is an apprentice, but Schalke’s fan favorite can make the difference. Not only does Schneider hope, given the 19-game Bundesliga streak without a win, that he “will bring back the sun”. With the experience of over 500 competitive games he is a great asset, says Schneider: “Of course he is a newcomer to the coach. But what was decisive for us was the combination of human and sporting skills. Naldo will bring a lot of positive energy to our cabin. “
The head coach is also convinced of the qualities of Naldo, who has worked hard and curiously for the first three weeks and is a valuable factor on the training ground and in discussions with the professionals. “He knows the team, the club, the environment. And he is a person who can give an incredible amount of energy, ”praised Baum.
Strangely enough, Naldo, who has been very reluctant to make any statements in his new role, commented on the situation days before his presentation on the occasion of the duel between his two ex-clubs Schalke and Bremen at Sky. “I hope none of them have anything to do with relegation. But something must change quickly. It’s a long season, but you immediately have to realize that every weekend counts, ”said Naldo.
Schalke then lost their home game to Werder 3-1. Had Naldo ever suspected that three weeks later he would be celebrating some sort of second home first at Schalke? With Baum, the father of three will sit on Sunday (6pm / Sky) against 1. FC Union Berlin for the first time at the Veltins-Arena on the coach’s bench.
“It feels good to be back in Schalke. Everyone knows I took the club to my heart. I would like to use everything I have learned in my almost 19 years as a professional as a member of the coaching staff and support Manuel Baum as much as possible, ”said Naldo. The prospect is new to him, but the goal is the same as as a player: one win and three points. And finally break through the black series.