Abdul Rahman Baba played 21 games with Schalke in the first half of the 16/17 season. That was before the Ghana international suffered a cruciate ligament injury which ended his season.
At the end of the season, his loan deal from Chelsea came to an end but since then he has kept in touch with Schalke and now the left-footer is glad to be back in Gelsenkirchen. schalke04.de got the chance to catch up with the 23-year-old to chat all things Schalke.
Baba, it’s good to see you back at Schalke. Did it take you a long time to decide to return to Gelsenkirchen when the loan offer came in?
Nope, the decision was really easy for me. I had a great time in Schalke last year. The people here love the club, there’s a great atmosphere around the team and the boardroom staff love to get involved.
Which players did you keep in contact with while you were away?
I kept in touch with Breel Embolo, Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli a lot, but also with a few others. We sent each other messages and photos all the time. Nearly every day I got a message off of one of the boys to say that I should come back. Even Christian Heidel and sporting director Axel Schuster were asking me how I was. But most of all I’d say I stayed in contact best with Axel Schuster.
How did the boys react when you renewed your loan deal and came back in January?
They were really pleased and it was almost as though I’d never left.
Your loan deal is for year and a half. Was it you that said you wanted to stay at Schalke beyond the end of the season?
Of course! I want to be an important part of the squad and help the team for the rest of this season but also going forward. I think the team is on the way to creating something really good here.
Did you follow our games from over in England?
Yes I did, I didn’t miss a single game and when I couldn’t watch it live I recorded it. Thanks to Sky and Schalke TV I managed to stay up to date. Before every game I texted the boys to wish them good luck.
Have you already found a place to live in Gelsenkirchen?
Luckily I didn’t have to (laughs). I never let go of the place I had last summer because I hoped that I would be back before long.
You were the dream-signing to play on Schalke’s left-wing. How did your first conversation with Domenico Tedesco go?
Really well. After less than a minute I knew he was the right guy for me. He places a great importance on how he communicates with his players, so he explained what he had planned for me but he also listened to what I had to say. The club is lucky to have such a great coach.
In the last couple of days you’ve completed full first team training and on top of that you’ve done a couple of extra sessions. When do you think you will be ready for the squad?
I hope that in the next few days I will become an option for the coach but he will decide when it’s the right time. In the last couple of weeks I have worked hard to catch up because I was lacking strength and power.
Does your injury still give you problems?
No, thankfully not. It doesn’t hurt me anymore and even mentally it doesn’t affect me.
What goals have you got for the next few weeks and months?
Next year I want us to be playing in Europe. It’s also it’s my dream to play in the DFB-Pokal final. This year, we still have the semi to play and I’m sure Frankfurt will be strong opponent but I’m hoping that we will be able to bag ourselves a place in the final.