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I had great teammates who couldn’t stand the pressure at Real ! The man who spent 14 years at Real Madrid and became the fifth most capped (601 games) gave an interview to AS. He explains what the DNA of the club is.

What does Real have that the others don’t?

“First, history. It’s something you can’t buy. Real Madrid are the most awarded club in the world and with the best attitude in the world. The second point is DNA. Real have this winning DNA… While other clubs show a lot of good play, tactics… Real Madrid is about winning. And how do you win in Madrid? don’t always know it, but the club has this DNA that elevates its daily demands and the grandeur of its image. It’s something hereditary, that the oldest teach children. We never live from a result here We play against whom we play, it doesn’t matter that sometimes we have the inevitable feeling that the opponent is superior. Real always feel that they can win and that’s something you have or that you do not have.”

I had great teammates who couldn’t stand the pressure at Real !

Is it difficult to bear the pressure at Real?

“I had great team-mates, wonderful players… but who couldn’t take the pressure. The thing is that Real play to win, you represent that mentality. You enter the pitch thinking you’re going to win. The day I started with the club, the oldest people told me: “We are Real Madrid and here we don’t lose, not even in pre-season”. is DNA.”

How is it transmitted to the young people of the club?

“We can explain it to some who understand and to others who can’t. Look, Raúl for example, no one went to explain to him what it meant. Morientes, Guti… It’s that’s why I’m telling you that I had excellent teammates, with enormous talent, who couldn’t withstand this level of demand. In Madrid, the day you lose is hard: the club trembles, public opinion is turning against you… I spent 14 years at this club and every year I read that they wanted to sign a central defender and if we conceded two goals, we immediately talked about two new centre-backs !

How do we support this? By having personality and a lot of self-confidence. If you don’t have that, it’s impossible in this club. Then there is the profile of the coaches. Look at those who won the Champions League with Real Madrid, they are all the same: club men, calm and not looking for the light. Miguel Muñoz, Heynckes, Zizou or Ancelotti… They know that the club is big and that they are not above the players. They assume and accept the fact that the stars are on the ground. In Madrid everything is impressive when you win but when you lose everything starts to shake because it is a club built to win. There have been many great players here, but no one has surpassed the greatness of the club.”

The fans are more demanding than the club itself?

Fans are used to winning because they’ve been to the Bernabeu many times and seen the club win a lot of titles. And this is where the level comes into play. If you play at a top level, the public will expect you to be constantly at that top level, but inevitably, with injuries and years… Your performance decreases with age, except that Madrid wants to see you at your best level. They saw you at a top level and know you can play at that level so that’s what they expect from you. At all matches. But it’s impossible.

Then comes the time when you play less and start doing more work for the band. Which Real player hasn’t been there? We are getting old while the club is looking for a replacement. It is the reality of life. I arrived in 1989 because someone had to leave. I took number 5 which belonged to Camacho, a club legend. Then I left and Sergio Ramos picked it up. The club constantly seeks to reinvent itself for one thing only: win, win, win. That’s what they put in your head.”

Is there something non-negotiable at Real?

The dedication. The Bernabeu are more relishing a comeback than a 5-0 win because they see their team fighting. This happens because there is a history in this club with many inexplicable epics. There are things that are impossible to understand. Many stars have passed through this club and they all have the same denominator: 100% dedication. Remember what I told you about the mentality of the club. In Madrid we say to ourselves: “Yes, we played well, that’s very good, but did we win?”. If the answer is no, then people won’t be happy. All clubs want to win but it’s different here.”

What does Real represent for you today?

“I know what this club stands for, I understand it. It has been 14 years of my life. It has given me a lot and not just as a football player. I feel very proud of my past. You see Pirri , Santillana, Isidoro San José, Butragueño, Roberto Carlos, Casillas… How wonderful. It’s a matter of clubs, of generations. No one will take away the pride I feel at being part of Real Madrid. “

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