My Eurofieth Autobiography: David Exteberria


I was born in Jaen, a small town in southern Spain, north of the famous city of Granada. My mother was a home-maker and my father worked in the local car factory. We were not a wealthy family at all but my parents always provided for me and my two older sisters (Lucia and Helene).

By the time I was five I was already a fanatical footballer. I would play everywhere – in the house, in the street, in the park… anywhere. My parents noticed that I was quite good for my age and they enrolled me in a training programme in Jaen. I loved playing for a team and just after my ninth birthday, a scout from Malaga, a top-division team, saw me play and offered me the chance to play and train for his team.

Over the next nine years I travelled to the city each day (two hours there, two hours back) and slowly made a name for myself. I was a very quick winger, and the manager of the club thought I had some potential. At the age of seventeen, I made my first appearance in the first team, against Real Valladolid. I didn’t play brilliantly, but the manager gave me three or four more chances that season as well as a two year professional contract.

At the end of that year, the club changed manager and the new coach did not put me in the team very often. This was very frustrating after putting in so much effort, and making so much progress. Finally, the new manager put me on the transfer list.

It was not what I wanted, but a club in Germany, F.C. Stuttgart, offered me a contract and at the age of twenty I made my debut in the Bundesliga. I have become a regular starter here, but think I may move on in the future.

I really miss Spanish food. Butifarra, paella, bacalao… these are the dishes I grew up with and I am not able to find them easily in Germany. Of course, I miss the special dishes made by my mother, too.

It’s not just the food I miss, though. A lot of German music is actually English, and I have always enjoyed traditional Spanish flamenco. My favourite artist is Paco de Lucia, a very famous guitarist who made flamenco famous worldwide.

Spain is also famous for its architecture, especially the work of Antoni Gaudi. He built many famous buildings, mostly in Barcelona. There is so much about my home country that I miss.

However, Stuttgart has many things which I have come to enjoy. German food is very good. I enjoy Schweinsbraten, a sort of roast pork with a crisp crust, and I even enjoy sauerkraut, the pickled cabbage. Because of my job, I have to be careful about what I eat but I find it difficult to resist German desserts. Prinzregetentorte is just sensational, and schwarzwaldekirschtorte is very famous. Of course, Germany is very famous for its beer, but I usually drink it with lemonade – this is called a radler and it is very refreshing on a hot day.

It is not very well-known in Spain, but German hip-hop is excellent music. Karakan is really good.

I have also begun reading some German books and have very much enjoyed novels by Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. They are quite difficult for me, but it is always good to practise a second language.

It would be a dream come true for me to play for a top team in Spain, but I am quite interested in playing for Real Sociedad – this is a team in el pais basque – The Basque Country – in the north of Spain. It has its own culture and is very different to the traditional Spain which I grew up in.

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