Despite only signing a six month contract with Mainz, former Dutch international Nigel de Jong is determined to mark his return to the Bundesliga with performances that he’s built his illustrious career from and keep his new club in the Bundesliga.

de Jong on his motivation to join Mainz…

“I firstly want to say thank you, that I was given the chance to play in the Bundesliga again by Rouven Schröder and head coach Sandro Schwarz. It is a big chance for me to show my ability on the pitch. I’m now 33-years-old, but not nearly finished with football. I now want to bring all of my work and experience into the team for the young players and show for the next five months that we, with discipline and the right mentality, can stay in the Bundesliga.”

de Jong on his knowledge of Mainz…

“For the last 10 years Mainz have been a team that has always played attractive football. Everyone knows the stories with Jürgen Klopp, but there was also success after that, with the likes of Thomas Tuchel. Mainz was always a tough opponent, and that is the very same today. I have always followed the Bundesliga and Mainz themselves. It is a small team, but the atmosphere around the team was always great. I have always played in big cities, and now I’ve brought myself to Mainz. In the final phases of my career it’s only about football and with that, I can concentrate totally on Mainz. I think, I as a person and the team, as it is now, are a good match.”

de Jong on his difficult time at Galatasaray with little chance to play…

“It was difficult to not play football in the last six months. It was a problem with the coach there. I am the type of guy who always speaks my mind. Sometimes it is better when someone like a footballer keeps their mouth shut, but I can’t always do that. But I have kept myself fit and also played friendlies where I have seen that I can still hold myself in 11v11 matches. I wanted to have another crack at football, and I want to use that now with Mainz.”

de Jong on the length of his contract…

“That is no problem for me. Honestly: I didn’t want to sign any contract over two years, when I haven’t shown I am worth it. I just want these five months. If it works out, then I can always sit and talk with the Sporting Director Rouven Schröder and discuss a new contract. But that depends totally on my performances. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. But I’m convinced that it will be successful.”

de Jong on the Bundesliga…

“The Bundesliga is one of the best leagues anywhere. At the time, when I was with Hamburg, it was beautiful, but now it is even better. I like the German punctuality, the organisation is just superb. The fans can walk amongst one another, without any problem – I just like that. I have been everywhere and I have to say: in this regard, the Bundesliga is number one. But also on the pitch, the level is always very high and it will always stay high. I really want to feel that again, that’s also why I’m back in Mainz.”

Nigel De Jong made 94 appearances with Hamburg between 2005 and 2009. © imago

de Jong on the chance of avoiding relegation…

“It will be a difficult second half, but we want to go for it and I want to be a part of the squad. I want Mainz to end up on the right side of the table, we want to win the relegation battle, we want to go forward together. I know them “oldies” like Rene Adler, but I don’t know all, I have to say that next week I will get to know all the players quickly.”

de Jong about his style of play and his reputation as a defensive bully…

“I’ve been waiting for this question (laughs) but it’s like you’re getting older and a little smarter, you know what you can do and what you can’t do. But still, I always try to give 110 percent, that’s my style. You learn from your mistakes. I’m 33-years-old now, you have to be a little smarter.”

de Jong about his life as a car dealership owner in Hamburg and the life after football…

“During my career, I’ve always thought about my life after football. You see how many footballers go bankrupt after their career, you always have to worry about life after football, even if it’s your sport. But it’s also good if you don’t think about football every second, you also have to let it go – I can imagine staying in Germany after my career.”

de Jong about missing match practice and his position…

“It’s important that I get some playing practice to get into the rhythm, next week the Rückrunde is already underway. I’m fit, but to be honest: I have to see how fit I am in the game playing a lot of games in a row, but I think the coach sees things differently (laughs). No, I think I’ll stay on the six position.”

Mainz fans can see Nigel de Jong in competitive action for the first time on Saturday when his new side travel to Hannover.

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