Donkeys, playing the piano and 'inspirational' Ballack: New Chelsea signing Havertz opens up on unique passions

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Getty Images/Kai Havertz Instagram

New Chelsea arrival Kai Havertz credits Michael Ballack with instilling in him a passion for the Blues, while revealing that away from the field he is likely to be found tinkling the ivories or tending to vulnerable donkeys.

Chelsea's £70 million ($90.42) signing from Bayer Leverkusen has arrived with quite the hype since making his move to the Premier League but he leads a grounded life away from the pitch.

Still just 21, Havertz is able to play the piano and holds further passions for fashion and nature. He has battled to educate himself amid a punishing football schedule after becoming the youngest player to breakthrough at Leverkusen at just 17 years old.

Havertz even missed a match against Atletico Madrid in 2017 due to school exams, which he took seriously thanks to his role models: his police officer father and lawyer mother.

Those book-smarts may serve Havertz well in what is an increasingly tactical sport but he wants to turn his focus to animal welfare away from the field - with a slightly unusual focus on donkeys.

"It's funny, I loved donkeys as a kid very much, I think my first year it was always my favourite animal," Havertz told reporters on a Zoom video link. "So it was always a dream for me to have one someday and now it's a good opportunity to help donkeys that are from the circus or things like that.

"It will be a big project for me in the next years. As I said I try to do my best to help as many animals as possible, they are very important for us and for the world. I try to do my best to help them have a better life.

"Of course, football is one of the most important things in my life as well, but my family and things like this that are supports, like the animals, is very important for me as well. I'm trying to do my best to help people, to help the animals.

"Of course, in the future, it will be a bigger thing for me to do things like that, but football, of course, is very important for me. But to be honest for me there are very many more important things in life than football, and I'm trying to do my best to help as much as I can."

Havertz was inspired to get into football through his grandfather Richard while growing up in the rural German village of Mariadorf. He was the chairman of the local side Alemannia Mariadorf which Havertz enrolled in as a boy before going into the Leverkusen academy.

However, his grandmother equally inspired him into taking up piano and Havertz went onto described how his passion for music grew: My brother started playing the guitar at a young age, and I wanted to do the same.

"That's the reason why I started the piano. My grandma had a piano at home so I was playing as a kid sometimes," he said. "For three years I just wanted to start playing the piano. And now whenever I want to play I play, and it makes me feel comfortable and it's fun."

Undoubtedly though, football is where Havertz excels and the Premier League only got a glimpse of it in his debut away at Brighton where Chelsea won 3-1.


#donkey day!

A post shared by Kai Havertz 💥⚽️✌🏼 (@kaihavertz29) on

Havertz had long attracted interest from Real Madrid and Bayern Munich but ended up at Chelsea, along with four other big signings in a £200m ($252m) transfer market splurge.

Indeed, Havertz says that he has always followed Chelsea closely and is glad to follow in fellow former Germany international and Leverkusen star Michael Ballack's footsteps.

Michael Ballack Frank Lampard Chelsea

"It's a dream come true, and now I have to work hard and do my best for the club," Havertz continued. "Michael Ballack was a very, very big player, he also played for Leverkusen and Bayern Munich.

"He was also the hero of course when I was younger, and he played for Chelsea as well. I liked him as a player very much, he played in my position and he was a midfield player who wanted to score a lot of goals.

"I think, of course, I try to score goals as well, like him and he was always a very big player for me. But I've never spoken to him. I'm thankful to play in a club where he played as well. The coach has a big impact on my decision, but I think for me I've loved Chelsea my whole life.

"I always watched the team as a kid, so it was not a very tough decision for me. For me, it was always important that a club comes to me or my agent and says 'you are the player, we want you, we'll do everything for you, please come to us'.

"That was the first thing that came in mind when I decided for a new club. For me, Chelsea's a very big club and I'm very grateful and thankful to be here now. I'll try to do my best to make everybody happy.

"But of course in the last year we had some conversations with other clubs as well, I think that's normal, but in the end, Chelsea gave me everything. It's a big project here, I love to play with young players as well.

"Of course, it's a few games to play good football, but of course I'm looking forward to that as I'm only here seven days now. I think it will be good in the next few weeks and months."

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Having only had a taste of what Havertz is about, Chelsea next face Liverpool where the German star will hope to make an impact in his first game at Stamford Bridge. It is a spectacle that Havertz can't wait to be part of, facing off against the world-famous manager Jurgen Klopp and his league champion side.

"When you watch football as a kid you always dream to play in a stadium like Stamford Bridge," he concluded before talking about Klopp and his side. "I think he's [Klopp] hungry and he wants to win more titles, and I think that's the reason why we have to play our best football on Sunday because it will be a very hard game for us.

"For them as well, because I think we have a very good team and maybe Monday was not our best game but the most important thing is to win the games and we did it on Monday and we'll try our best to win on Sunday as well."