Hello Alvaro, thank you for joining us. You come in a week when Real Madrid already have six points in the Champions League. No goals conceded. This is all after two games. You’re Group D leaders, have one foot in the Last 16… What’s the key to such a strong start in Europe?
We know it’s really important to start well. It’s really important to win the first two or three games in the Champions League because after that you are more confident. It gives you more experience in the competition, so they are really important. We are now in a good position.
How do you see your chances this season in the Champions League?
We know it is a difficult championship and that there are difficult teams to face, but we feel confident in our chances. Also, playing our next games already having six points makes things easier.
Then there’s also the league. Real Madrid also came close to winning last season. How do you see it going this year?
We know the league is not easy because it has many quality teams. Barcelona are a strong side, but we’re united and want to win the league. I think we’re playing much better than last season. We have to keep going and think about our next game and about playing good football.
Last season Jose Mourinho led Real Madrid further than they’ve been in seven years in both cup competitions. You went on to win the Copa del Rey. What was it like to beat Barcelona in the final and to win a trophy with Real Madrid?
It was great. I have fond memories of that game. It was really nice. I’d like to have the same year again in the Champions League, in the league and everything else because it’s such a special feeling. I’d like to repeat it all again.
It was a good twelve months for you and nine months before that you won the World Cup with Spain. It’s a cup that so few people get to realize the dream of winning. What was that like?
It was a dream come true, so special. It was really important for the whole country and for us too. I think I’ll never be able to forget the World Cup because it was really special for Spain and for all the players.
Tell me a little bit about your time in England. You are one of the few players at Real Madrid who spent time playing in the Premier League. What was it like at Liverpool?
I was there two and a half years and have good memories. Everything at Liverpool was perfect: the fans, the city, the team… For me, one of the best things in the world is to play at Anfield. It’s a great experience. The only thing I can really say is that I felt great there and wish to thank Liverpool fans for their support.
You are a product of the Real Madrid academy. After stints at Deportivo La Coruña and Liverpool you came back as a first team regular. What was that like?
It’s very special for all the players who come from the academy to play for the first team. When you play in the youth sides you know how difficult it is to reach the first team, so it’s obviously special to me. I’m really happy now to play for the best team in the world. I’m enjoying myself.
One season after you did come back to Real Madrid Jose Mourinho came in. Now, on this very show we asked him if any player in particular impressed him since he came here and he mentioned you. He said that you’re the type of player that every coach wants on his team because he can always rely on you. How does it feel to have a coach of Jose Mourinho’s calibre, your coach, to say that about you?
Jose Mourinho is a really important manager. We all know that. I regard him as one of the best in the world and I can learn lots of things from him. His character is really important to us. We are very lucky players to be working with him and want to continue doing so.
Last year we saw some new players coming in under him who developed very quickly, players like Mesut Ozil. What do you think of the players who came in and how quickly they progressed here?
They are great quality players. Mesut is a fantastic player, and so are Sami Khedira, Jose Callejon, Nuri Sahin… The 23 to 25 players on the squad are all great, so we I think we have a good team.
We’ve seen Real Madrid over the last two seasons, particularly in the preseason as well, working so well in defence, midfield and attack. You’ll be playing a key role this season as well. How motivated are you all this year?
I feel good and want to help the team all the time. I think we have confidence in ourselves and must keep working hard. The same applies to me. In order to win titles you must work hard every day.
What are your hopes for the season both personally as a player and as a team member?
As a player one wants to play many games and help the team. I think those are the only things players want to do. As a team we want to win every title. We know it will be really difficult, but we’ll try.
Great. Thanks for your time Alvaro.