Kai Havertz has packed quite a lot into the 11 months since joining Chelsea. But the recent floods that ravaged his home country of Germany have made it all seem much more manageable and he is now eager to help.
However, Havertz ended the club season in style by scoring a well-taken win as Chelsea beat Manchester City to win Champions League.
He told BBC Sport that it was a “strange year” for him and all of them. “I moved to another country and joined another club. Everything was new.
“But I believe how the year ended personally, and as a group, was a positive thing. Now, I am used to the league, the players, and everyone, and I believe this year will be even more enjoyable.
“Maybe it was because I also learned from it, and I grew as both a football player and as a person, and that’s what’s most important.
“So, yes, it was tough, but when you talk about floods, other people had a more difficult experience than I.”
After Germany’s Euro 2020 exit, Havertz went on a well-earned vacation with his family. He didn’t even bother to make a call to his father, who was back in Germany and stated that it had been “raining hard for three, four days”.
The now-22-year old admits that he didn’t mean anything serious. “But to be honest, I didn’t take it seriously because sometimes that happens,” he says. “But then, he sent us videos and photos.
It was terrible. It was clear that everything was submerged. Cars were floating about, people were in the water. It was difficult because I lived only 20 minutes from the scene. It’s true, I was raised there.”
Havertz, a North Rhine-Westphalia native, initially thought that this kind of thing only happened to people in distant places. Although he didn’t know what he should do, he realized that a change was in his future.
He and his family then sat down to try to figure out the best way to assist the German Red Cross. A month later, they still serve 10,000 hot meals per day to thousands of people living without electricity or water in the country.
Havertz also donated 200,000 Euros. He also came up with the idea of making 100 pairs of custom-designed football boots that will be sold and auctioned off to raise funds. Havertz will be wearing a pair of boots when Chelsea faces Arsenal in the Premier League.
He says, “We just want it to raise money so people can purchase the shoes. The boot is maybe a symbol for my support and my respect for people who have lost everything.”
Although the floods may have occurred weeks ago, the ex-Bayer Leverkusen player said that raising awareness is important as many people still face the aftermath.
He adds, “Maybe everyone has forgotten.” My family lives in the same area as many homeless people. They have lost everything, and don’t know where to go. There are no electricity or houses for them. People don’t even have food or clothes.
“So, I believe it’s still a good moment to help. They still have many problems.”
Havertz said that the destruction in Germany has inspired him to study climate change.
Recent heat waves and floods in Europe have made this issue a hot topic. The United Nations published a report last week stating that humans are changing the climate in “unprecedented, sometimes irreversible” ways.
Havertz says, “I’m an individual who loves nature and animals.” He has owned a dog since coming to England and also has a donkey sanctuary in Germany.
“I would like to learn more about climate change over the next few years because I believe we are human and can change it.”