Javier Coloma / Translation by realmadrid.com
Manuel Sanchis Hontiyuelo played 708 official matches for Real Madrid, 523 of which were La Liga games. No Madridista has played as many, but that may soon change. Raul is two matches away from equaling Sanchis' league mark and five away from the official match record. Realmadrid.com caught up with the man who will pass on the baton.
708 matches and 523 in La Liga. Who would have thought when you first debuted?
A long time has passed since then. It was 1983 and I did it alongside Martin Vazquez during a time that the team was plagued by injury. We debuted thanks to the courage of Alfredo di Stefano, who confided in us. We won the match thanks to my goal.
So many matches... Which do you hold the fondest memories of?
Of all the league matches, I will always remember my first. Fortunately there were many more victories than defeats after that. This club wouldn’t be what it is had it been any different. There were good and bad matches, but my general recollection cannot be any better.
You must hold a special place in your heart for the Champions League.
Of course. I have fond memories of 20 May 1998 when we won the seventh European Cup. It was a milestone in my career and for Real Madrid.
You have held the record for so long. It must be hard to let it go.
I don’t remember when I surpassed Carlos Santillana exactly, but I know the record has stood for about 12 years and it makes me proud to hand it over to Raul.
Like Santilla did with you.
Santillana was a true gentleman with me and he taught me the right way to pass on the baton and recognize achievements.
Your record will always exist. It has lasted over a decade.
I will stick with the honor of having enjoyed it all these years.
You pass on the baton to an icon who you know very well.
Yes. I always remember Raul as a good kid from the time we played together. He is more timid than extroverted, but he has always been fully committed and has always had a sense of humor.
Someone who, like you, has always played despite the competition.
He now has a lot of competition on the team, but it is good for everyone. Everyone must be open to accepting new roles. Raul is very intelligent and will know how to do just that.
He is still there... Playing and scoring goals.
The coach makes the decisions and has the final word. He knows the players better than anyone. No coach will do anything to jeopardize his own team and will always try to play the best.