News and opinions
07 August 2012
After 15 seasons at Real Madrid, where he joined the Under-9 team, Esteban Granero knows the club inside out. He has lived and breathed the club since he was a child and is an expert on the subject. In an interview with Jot Down Magazine (www.jotdown.es), El Pirata (The Pirate, in English) analysed the club as it stands today. He gave his opinion on the reserve teams, Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, the fans, the rivalry with Barcelona and the club’s impact round the world; his conclusion: " Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world ".
El Pirata admitted that one person who has impressed him is José Mourinho, because despite a string of successes his hunger for titles knows no limits: “Mourinho has managed to get us fighting with him until the very end. That’s one of his virtues and he has managed it by being honest. That’s the difference. A coach who has won it all, who wants to carry on winning, his ambition is contagious. He makes you give 100% all the time, day-in day-out. An ambitious footballer is thankful of that”. Focused with the He’s a coach who has won it all, who wants to carry on winning ", he stated about Mourinhosquad in Los Angeles, where the team is causing excitement among the fans, Granero highlighted the impact that Real Madrid has around the world: “Before, the people of Madrid went to watch the club, the Real Madrid fans. Now, thanks to our President, who has worked hard on this, the club is the biggest in the world. It has a worldwide impact, everyone around the world knows about it ". For the fans, those who go to the Bernabéu, who the academy player knows inside out: "We know that their excitement more or less depends on us. We also know that in the important games the Bernabéu has always helped us. Last year there were some very important afternoons for us and the fans have been there on some of the best days I can remember. The fact of the matter is that we can’t want the club to grow, at the speed that it is growing at and the importance that it is gaining, but not want these natural changes to take place”.
As well as playing the Real Madrid first team, Granero studies Psychology. The nature and the advice of many of his teammates have helped him to mature: “I think football is a complete learning experience, and Real Madrid teaches me more than any Psychology university when it comes to giving football-related advice. People have given me advice that has helped me a lot. From Casillas, Raúl, Guti, players who have been here a long time. At the moment, I look at Xabi in particular, how he solves problems. I also admire Cristiano Ronaldo because of his ambition, how he behaves when he is at his peak and it seems as though he can’t go any further, how he looks for a way to go one step further”.
He discussed the Portuguese attacker in more depth: “He’s so good and determined that he’s there and it’s his rightful place. He’s a caring person, a friend to his friends and teammate to his teammates. The perception of him outside the club doesn’t really correspond to the truth. In particular because jealousy tends to undermine footballers at their peak, but he doesn’t have to descend to that level. He’s there because he’s earned it and I hope he continues to do so. You can be a good guy and be modest at the top. Modesty isn’t keeping your head down. He’s good and he knows it, which is why he says so, he demonstrates his modesty by wanting more even when he knows he’s good, and he gives you that in each training session, in each match. He never makes do, and that too is modesty. I laugh when people say that he’s not modest. He’s one of the most modest guys I know".
Granero formed part of the team who brought Barcelona’s reign over recent years to an end. Winning the"I admire Xabi because of the way he solves problems and Cristiano because of his ambition y how when it seems as though he can’t go any further, how he looks for a way to go one step further" Liga last season and the spectacular way in which they won it gives the Real Madrid player the right to declare: “We were always on top of them in the Liga. Everyone talks about the best team in history and another team beat them by nine points when people don’t stop saying amazing things about them. We’re used to being the number one team, it’s out position, and we fought hard to get back to it, the position we won last year. Their level of play over the last three years has been very high, but that makes our achievement all the more impressive. We now have a significant challenge in staying at the top and regaining that dominance. We must understand that Madrid isn’t a team that will make do, that it limits itself to accept what it sees. It fights and it wants to return to what I believe is its rightful position ".
With regard to the Real Madrid academy and its ability to reach the first team, El Pirata made his opinion clear: “The real Madrid reserve players want the best to come to Real Madrid. I want the team to get stronger even though it means there is more competition for places. I want them to come and I’ll fight for my place. If what they bring to the club helps to make me a better player, or I learn from them, or if overcoming them is an incentive for me, all the better”. Mourinho is responsible for the club’s smooth running. “He is trusted because he’s earned it. In this regard our coach is fair. He has given a lot of opportunities. Many players made their debuts under him last year. There are a lot of players from Castilla in the training sessions and these are the types of opportunities that I would have liked when I was younger. Of course there is trust, but this is Real Madrid and you can’t give someone who is not ready that responsibility. It’s for their own good. You can’t just take the decision lightly to let the academy players play”.
Granero has always been clear that his priority was to play for Real Madrid, his childhood team and the most you can aspire to achieve: “In my opinion success is Real Madrid. In which other team would I have developed more? In which other team would I stretch myself to the limit? How far do I have to drop to think that a team is my limit? How far do I go? I wouldn’t be able to set myself goals that weren’t the best. It wouldn’t be fair to me and it wouldn’t be fair having been here since I was a child training and dedicating my life to football, which was my greatest passion. Of course I want the opportunities, but at Real Madrid, which is the best club. Having that opportunity and choosing another would be madness. If you have that opportunity and it scares you and you choose something that is “safer”, you’ve wasted your time. As a Real Madrid fan I could never play for Barcelona, neither in the best of conditions or for all the money in the world. I couldn’t because of my principles. I would be incapable of doing so".