Dani appears smiling, very smiling, still dressed in training clothes but already wearing flip-flops, personalized with the number 2 on the tongue. After a 20-21 season to forget, due to a carousel of endless injuries, he has finally seen the light in that dark tunnel. This course has gone from less to more and is going to finish the season in style, close to the best version of him. And the best version of him is one of the great right backs in the world. Job that for 17 months he has combined with that of the father of Martín, his first son, although he has stolen most of the hours that he previously enjoyed playing video games. On Saturday, in Paris, he may be one of the nine players in the current squad to add his fifth Champions League, a figure unattainable for 99.9% of footballers.

-It has been the Champions League of comebacks and the season of Carvajal’s comeback. He will be happy.

—The 20-21 season was very fateful, personally cloudy. After a serious injury in October, I chained muscle injuries and not getting out of that loop was very frustrating. This season started very well. It is true that I had a small problem in the soleus, perhaps due to the adaptation to that level of competition stress, and I chained that injury in January with covid. But from February to now, with continuity of minutes and work, I think I’m finally at one of my most optimal levels.

—The Basque nutritionist Itziar González has been key in her transformation. What has revolutionized his diet brought you?

—The nutrition that has helped me a lot. Eat foods that are not inflammatory, avoid gluten, special rice, special supplements and prepare each game in a special way. Now I have been preparing for the final for three weeks with a specialized diet, but apart from nutrition, we have also corrected the area of ​​rest, treatment with the physio, the way of working, adjusting loads… I have closed all possible doors to that I feel comfortable and can give a good level.

—What is that specialized diet for the Champions League final?

I prefer not to give too many details. What I can tell you is that in these last three weeks I have filled the hydrate deposits and I have looked for more specialized supplements so that the body has reserves and strength to spare for Saturday.

“What’s wrong with gluten for your body?”

—Through a series of analyzes we realized that I did not feel well, gluten was very pro-inflammatory for me. Now I feel much lighter. Also my mentality has changed regarding some nutrients. When I ate carbohydrates I had the idea that I was not going to burn them and that I would gain weight, and it is the other way around. The metabolism of an elite athlete is continually burning calories. Thanks to carbohydrates I have more glycogen reserves, more muscle and less fat. It is beneficial to be able to train hard and have the muscles ready to compete every three days.

—In some meetings we have seen him use a glucose meter. Why did you need to know your blood sugar level during games?

—To adjust the diets a bit. For example, facing breakfast, see the peak that could go up, the peak that went down after intense training, after a match… We spent more than a month analyzing training sessions and matches and that has helped me to adjust the diet.

“Apart from nutrition, have you also sought help for your head?”

-Yes. Mentally it was a frustrating stage and she needed to find that balance. Understand that when you do everything in your power, you must free yourself, be calm and know that sometimes you can have injuries because it is part of the sport. Doing everything possible to be well has to leave me calm mentally. I have asked a coach for help and he has helped me a lot. They make you see another point of view of your concerns.

Martin is almost a year and a half old. Is it more difficult to be a father or win five Champions in Madrid?

—(Laughs) It’s there, there. At par. To be a good father you have to work hard, but you do it with pleasure. A smile from my son when I see him makes my day.

“Let’s go to the final. What is the reason for certain statements, such as Salah’s, with that spiteful and revengeful tone for what happened in kyiv in 2018?

—I don’t know if Salah or Liverpool are in the mood for revenge. It is true that when you lose a Champions League final you always want to have a second chance against that same team in order to beat them. Let’s hope it’s not an important burden for Salah to lose a second Champions League final against Real Madrid.

—PSG, Chelsea, City and Liverpool in the final. If they win this Champions League, would it be the most complete of all due to the substance of the rivals?

-It could be. This and the Thirteenth, which was PSG, Juventus, Bayern and Liverpool in the final. But today, how is football, which is not a ‘pay to win’ but almost, perhaps this is more. Other leagues have a significant economic injection, and you want not many of the great players to play in those leagues. So beating the two finalists from last year, the PSG of Mbappé, Messi, Neymar and Ramos makes us grow and show the world what Madrid is and what this club means.

—League, Super Cup and, perhaps, Champions League number 14. Is a transition season for Madrid the best season for any other team?

“It is true that it was a season of transition. Important players left us. We only signed Alaba, for free, and Camavinga. New trainer. Young people, very good, but with a lack of experience. And look how it turned out. You can not ask for more. Well yes, win the Champions League.

—And with you until the 90th minute, or the 120th… Surely that thorn of ending up injured in the 2016 and 2018 finals wants to remove it.

-Well yes. Clearly I have that thorn. That’s where the coach’s job is where, for example, he helps a lot. Take weight off me in these games of so much tension and emotions, where the muscles tense. It is a pending account that I have with myself.

—You can even finish it as a central defender, if Ancelotti asks you to, like against Chelsea. What a recital in extra time.

—Nacho had cramps and the technician trusted me. I surprised myself. I think I got pretty big. At least I had that feeling. He won aerial duels, he got to cover… he was unexpected. He wanted to give the best, team up and experience helped. There are so many years of defensive concepts that this aspect is clear to you.

—Ancelotti said in the press conference on Tuesday that in the future, of the current Madrid squad, he only sees Kroos, Casemiro, Nacho and, perhaps, Modric as possible coaches. Has he been wrong about you?

“You’ve got me wrong, I’m sure. When she sees him I pull her ears (laughs). Yes, I would like to be a coach. Obviously I am young, but my predisposition is to be a coach when I am no longer a player. I don’t know if it’s elite or first team. The same would comfort me more with children, for training, to avoid the issue of travel, stress, decision-making… But we’ll see, there’s still a lot left.

—Do you, like Ancelotti, also have negative thoughts and your pulse quickens and you sweat in the hours before a big game like a Champions League final?

—What happens to me on the days of the Champions League finals is that I can’t sleep after a nap, but I tend to be calm, as I normally am on a day-to-day basis. Then in the dressing room I am quite energetic and an emotionally intense player for the group, but in my life I am usually calm.

—What has not left them alone, at least in the media, is Mbappé’s no

—The boy has been subjected to quite strong pressure from Paris, the sheikhs, PSG itself and the fans love him very much. Now, if I’m honest, when Real Madrid loves you it’s very difficult to say no and there are trains that only pass once.

“Did he surprise you?”

“You have to be in his head. He is French and from Paris. He is playing for PSG, he is the best player for his country and it must be very difficult to get out of that comfort zone. But I insist, there are trains that only pass once and Madrid is above any player.

—Clubs like PSG, or City, are playing with different rules of the game than the others?

-Well I do not know what to say to you. Look at Barcelona, ​​which has given a negative balance and also continues to sign. Therefore, it is difficult to analyze where we are with clubs like PSG, City or Barcelona itself.

-Finished. Another call from Luis Enrique and the World Cup just around the corner…

—There are six games left before the World Cup, four now in June. Of course I’m very happy to see myself on the list again. I appreciate the confidence in the technician. I hope to return it with good performances, help the team and qualify for the final four of the Nations League.

—Are you also happy for Asensio?

-Much. He is very happy to return and I am confident that he will be an important player for Spain.