Diego López returns to Real Madrid. Last-minute jitters and the smile on his face after signing his new contract with ‘the club I love’ suggest that this is one of the most exciting moments of his life. ‘To go back to the club I love, where I grew up and got trained is beautiful and something really special. I don’t want to let this opportunity pass me by and I’m here with a tremendous longing to help the team, my team, to get what they are aiming for’, revealed the whites’ home-grown player to Realmadrid.com and Realmadrid TV.
You’re going back to Real Madrid. Home turf. I guess that’s got to feel quite special.
I am really excited and very happy. It’s all been so quick. I’ll have to get used to it. To go back to my club, the club I love, where I grew up and got trained is beautiful and something really special. I’m going to make the most of this opportunity I’ve been given and thank all those that have made this signing possible.
You’re back in Santiago Bernabéu. What are your memories of this stadium?
As a rival player the matches against Real Madrid were all memorable, especially here in the Bernabéu. I was here for a long time. I have shared so many experiences, almost all good ones, and personally and professionally it’s a great pleasure.
It’s all been very quick. How have the last 24 hours been for you?
I found out from the media that Real Madrid were looking for a goalkeeper and I was in the running. Yesterday my agent told me that he was in Seville with Del Nido, looking at the possibility of a happy ending. By the end of the day it was all confirmed and you can imagine the rest. Hours with no sleep, having to say goodbye to mates in Seville, travel up and be here. I don’t have any other words other than those of gratitude and excitement.
You have extensive experience with Spanish football and you’ve come to share it with the team.
At Real Madrid it took a lot out of me to get me to the top. It was a hard path to tread and I had to work a lot and put in a great deal of effort. Having already been in the first team I trusted the coaches and the president. I left last time because it was tough competing with Iker and I thought I’d have more possibilities elsewhere. I was at Villareal for five amazing years, except for the last one which wasn’t at all great, but I did manage to play in the Champions, loads of matches in Europe and go international. The last six months have possibly been the worst. I’m really longing to help the team, my club, to get what they’re aiming for.
You’ve played in the Champions with Villarreal and now you’re in the last sixteen with Real Madrid against Manchester.
The Champions is a really special league and more so playing for Real Madrid, as we’ve won it the most and we’re always in with a good chance. To take part and play against the European clubs with Villarreal gave me the experience I needed to take on the competition.
You’ve worked with Casillas and Adán. How would you describe them?
I can’t describe Iker because everyone knows his huge value. Adán has always stood out, even as a youngster, and I remember that even I started to train him up when he was 15 and I was helping out as a coach for the academy in my spare time. He’s really come on, he’s got great skill and it just goes to show the enormous amount of home-grown goalkeeping talent that the club has. There are three of us and between us we must defend the goal really well and help out the team.
You’ll be meeting up with old teammates like Arbeloa again, who went up to Second Division with you.
It’s going to be really exciting. I’ve always kept in touch with Álvaro. He’s always been a very good friend to me and I’m thrilled to be on the same team as him again. He’s such a great guy. I know this place very well and I can see it hasn’t changed that much since lots of the staff are still the same as they were five or six years ago. It’s great to be able to see the staff again too.
The last time you were here at this club everyone said what hardworker you were. Has Diego López changed at all?
Not in that way. I’ve still got the same values as I had twelve years ago when I came here. My work is the basis for everything else. It’s what I’m going to do from today onwards: work my socks off to be at the top of my game and help the team when the coach sees fit. That is the only way to succeed. Work is what has brought me back here to have this opportunity and I don’t want to let it pass me by.
You’ve arrived at a key point of the season and you’re determined to prove your worth.
I’ve never stopped following Real Madrid and we’re at an important stage of the season, the crux of three competitions. The Getafe game will be complicated and then we’ve got a tricky playoff and a beautiful match against Barcelona. We’re hoping for a positive outcome and to be in another final.