Vicente del Bosque has reflected on 25 years of management in the game, his influences and who he sees in Spain’s current squad as a future Coach.
The 61-year-old gave an extensive interview to AS this week to commemorate reaching 25 years since he first oversaw a game as a head Coach, when placed in sole charge of Real Madrid B in 1987.
In the interview, Del Bosque revealed that coaching at senior level was not what the former Real player had in mind when he retired.
“Well, I retired in the 1983-84 season and a new era began. I didn’t think my future would take me to the bench though,” he reflected.
“My vocation was as a Coach, but everything was pointing towards that I would devote myself to Real Madrid’s youth system. But then the ups and downs of the game allowed me to take a chance at managing the senior side.
“The truth is that my goal was to devote myself to training. The first three years I was with [former Real Madrid player and assistant Coach and Real Madrid Castilla Coach] Juan Santisteban, I was assisting.
“I am very grateful for what he taught me. After that I began working with the cantera and I spent a few years coaching the team.”
Del Bosque was asked further on who has influenced him to become the Coach that he is today.
“Everyone a bit. From the irony and astuteness of Munoz to the innovations and new methods of people like Boskov and Miljanic, who were more than just football Coaches.
“Obviously, Luis Molowny has been a reference for me in every way. For Luis I felt admiration and respect and I try to imitate him where I can.
“But I’ve learned a lot from everyone who passed through the club since I retired as a player too. People like Leo Beenhakker, John Toshack, Jupp Heynckes, all of them I have tried to learn from.
“I also had no choice. I do not understand business, I don’t understand transfer fees, the market – what I do understand is the ball, and that is thanks to all these trainers and players to have passed through Madrid. With each I gave them my eyes and ears. I was a sponge.”
The World Cup and European Championship-winning tactician was asked what he has found most motivational about working in his industry.
“Well, for starters I have tried to earn a living and support my family well. I follow my passion, which is football. And then, professionally, the titles with Real Madrid and now with the national team, to see all those guys we were talking about earlier, to develop our footballers and as people too.
“But I think the most rewarding was working with the youth team, with the boys, their experiences, their families. During those years we gave back and I speak in plural because it was more than just me. Madrid had a gear to them where they cared and were generous, altruistic and often anonymous…
“Yes, I mean [former club administrator] Alberto Garcia Collado, but then like me he was an employee of Madrid. As were Jesus Garcia Palacios, Malbo, Luis Ajenjo, but also the trainers, Coaches, scouts combing the dirt fields of Spain in search of that next Madrid player. Many were anonymous people who worked for the love of the club.”
Del Bosque then picked out Xavi Hernandez as the player under his wing most likely to successfully make the jump into management.
“In Xavi I see a coaching future, really. He is an extension of the Coach on the field, whilst his education is Barca. He has taken in all that is good and that makes Barcelona. I believe in him. He has common sense and is friendly.
“What conditions are needed to be a Coach? None are required and all are necessary. Maybe it is not essential to have played for a great club, but if you have then it is not a burden.
“And then, for what makes a technician, common sense and good relations within and outside the dressing room.
“With the media, your assistants, with the players…with everyone. Good relationships are vital. Also, the team’s philosophy has to fit in with the club.
“And of course you have to have good results, because otherwise, if you lose, it all comes down like a house of cards.”