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Salomon Kalou: 'I want to sign new Hertha Berlin deal in January'

In an exclusive interview with DW, Salomon Kalou has said he wants to extend his stay in Berlin beyond 2017. However, the former Chelsea striker still hopes to end his career where it started: at Dutch club Feyenoord.

Salomon Kalou's current deal expires next summer and there has been much speculation about the 31-year-old striker's future. However, he says he is happy at Hertha and is keen to stay.

"I think I will sign a new contract with Hertha in January," Kalou told DW. "My contract finishes next year but I'm really not thinking about contracts, I'm thinking about enjoying my football and playing well. The rest will take care of itself."

"I think I have many years left as a player, but I dream of ending my career with Feyenoord. It is a club close to my heart and where everything started for me. A lot of people in Feyenoord helped me become the person and the player I am, so if I can end up playing there again before the end of my career then I'll be happy."

Kalou has enjoyed an impressive run of form of late, scoring a hat trick against Borussia Mönchengladbach earlier this month and assisting on teammate Vedad Ibisevic's goals in Hertha's 2-1 win over Mainz on Sunday, a victory that moved them to third place in the Bundesliga.

Upwards and onwards

Kalou believes Hertha are capable of improving on last season's seventh place finish in the league. The target, he says, is to secure European football at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

"We are showing that last season wasn't a fluke, and this season we've started even stronger than last year," he said.

"The club can achieve a lot of good things. I'm seeing a lot of positive signs and we've already been in the position where we've showed that this team has quality and potential, so we have to believe in ourselves and achieve a European place this year."

Fußball Bundesliga Hertha BSC- Borussia Mönchengladbach (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Sohn)

Kalou (second from right) found the back of the net three times against Mönchengladbach in early November.

"We know that last year we came close to qualifying for the Champions League, so that's given us the belief that we can do better things this year. We have a couple of new players who have adapted to the team, and that's important. We have a little more strength in depth this season."

Personal tragedy

The Ivory Coast international has exploded back on the scene after a difficult few months. His father, Antoine, died in August and that family tragedy was compounded by another, as his aunt passed away a couple of weeks later.

"My father was like a mentor for me. He was a school teacher and always made sure I went to his class. He was always tough on me because he wanted to make an example of me to the other kids. He really enjoyed football and when I played for my school, he would motivate me to play well by offering me little incentives if I scored a goal or played well."

"When I signed for Chelsea in 2006 we went to the World Cup in Germany together. Because I had just signed for Chelsea, Roman Abramovich invited my father to his box to watch Ivory Coast versus Argentina. That was a special moment because he felt very proud to be there watching Ivory Coast with me after I had just signed for one of the biggest clubs in the world."

Kalou added: "When I scored those three goals for Hertha against Mönchengladbach, the first thing I thought about was my dad. I thought of my first professional game when I was 18 and my dad was watching me and I scored three goals for Feyenoord. So I dedicated those three goals against Gladbach to him."

While Kalou admits that this was the most testing period of his career and his life, he says his mind is now focused on helping Hertha continue to rise up the table - in the short and long term.

"It's been a really tough time, but I've had a lot people to help me through this difficult moment and now I want to focus on being as professional as I can and scoring as many goals as possible for Hertha," he said. 

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