Hi Ricardo, welcome to RealmadridTV and the latest edition of the ‘Real…’ Series. You are probably the most experienced player at Real Madrid, how did you feel when Jose Mourinho asked you to come to the world’s biggest club?
Thank you. It’s true, I’m the eldest. (Laughs) When I heard the club was interested in me I was very excited. It was a big step for me. I spent six perfect years at Chelsea. Then, to come to the greatest club in the world was fantastic. I’m so proud to be here and to play for Real Madrid.
You have travelled a long journey with Jose Mourinho, starting at Porto, then in England and now here in Spain. How has he helped you as a player?
He works on every single detail and very well on a daily basis. He wants you to improve every day. It’s only normal that you grow as a player, and also as a man, when you work with him. I’m very proud of working with him for such a long time. It’s special to be next to him.
What is the secret to Jose Mourinho’s success?
He wants to do well every day. He works hard to improve daily. You can’t afford to make mistakes. He says, “No, you can’t make mistakes. You have to focus on your game at all times and train to be better.” All players that work with him can improve, provided they listen and train well.
You began your career at your local club, Amarante. Later, you enjoyed major European success with Porto. You then followed Jose Mourinho to Chelsea where you won six titles with him…. What a great experiences you must’ve had…
Yes… My dream initially was to play for Porto, but it was later crucial that I left my country and try out in a better league. I went to the Premier League and I was so happy at the club, where I played with great players. Most of them are friends of mine still. I also won trophies… I’m so proud of my career.
You’re now at Real Madrid, one of the youngest teams in Europe. Do you give advice to the younger guys coming through?
Of course, we have younger players here than at Chelsea, and I’m the eldest. Young players here are very talented. They just have to wait and give it some time because they can end up doing very well.
This is now your second season with Mourinho at Real Madrid, and there seems to be a very special atmosphere around the team at the moment, right?
Well, the club is so big! (Laughs) There’s pressure to win every game and to play better and better the more you play. Every player wants to be at a club like this one. You want to win and to improve as well. The club is so big that you always have to try to win trophies and to be victorious in every match, and also to play well if possible.
What’s that feeling of playing at the Bernabeu on the big Champions League nights in comparison to other stadiums in which you’ve played around the world?
It’s different, it’s different… It’s a feeling… It’s difficult to explain, but it is a feeling. When you arrive and you see the stadium, you know… Everyone surrounding you… It’s so big! You feel like this is the biggest club in the world. Once you’re in there you have to do your best and people enjoy it. They like to enjoy themselves by watching good football.
The team seems to be strong in all departments: defence, midfield and attack. What player in particular has stood out for you in recent months?
Well, I don’t like to say names. Everyone talks more about this one, or that one… But as a team we are tight. You want to grow, too, as a team, and in order to do that you have to win matches. That’s what we’re doing. We want to improve and grow as a team, and also to win trophies… This is more important. Of course it’s normal for people sometimes to talk more about Ronaldo, ‘Pipa’ Higuain, Benzema… You know, our players up front. Di Maria, Marcelo… But what’s important is to grow as a team and win our games. We must try to do our best and play well.
It seems the team really wants to go one step further in the Champions League this year and reach the final…
We want to do our best, and in order to have a chance to win the title we’ll have to reach the final and try to win it. After the present stage we’ll play two games in each ensuing round, and you have to play very well in both. You can’t afford to do well in one and then so-so or badly in the other. We’ll have to give good performances in both and also have a little luck to go through. The Champions League is different. We want to do our best to ensure we qualify in a good position. We’ll have to play well once there are two games. We want to go through. We reached the semifinals last season, which means we did well, but we want to do better this year. We’ll need to be in the final if we want the trophy.
Finally, what a great start to La Liga the team’s had, scoring 10 goals in two games. Is this a good sign for the future?
We have to carry on. We have to be ourselves. Barcelona play to win la Liga, so we must carry on winning every match. We have to be ready and fit to win our games. Everyone knows it’s very important for us to win La Liga, and in order to do so we must be prepared for every game.
Well, thanks very much for joining us here at RealmadridTV and best of luck for the season.
My pleasure. Thank you very much.