Hierro: A small obsession

Former Real Madrid defender Fernando Hierro believes Los Blancos’ search for a tenth Champions League victory is only a small obsession.

The 46-year-old was part of the Madrid teams that won the club’s seventh, eighth and ninth titles over a four year period between 1998 and 2002.

However, he believes that any pressure Carlo Ancelotti’ players may be feeling ahead of this Saturday’s final against Atletico Madrid is less than it was in 1998, when the Bernabeu giants ended a 32-year drought in Europe’s premier club competition.

Speaking to Marca, the former Valladolid and Bolton Wanderers man also said he thinks it is easier to win the Champions League these days than it was under the old straight knockout format.

“It could be that a small obsession exists now,” Hierro commented. “12 years have passed now without winning one, and for Real Madrid 12 years is a long time.

“But I think the true obsession existed in 1998, when we had gone 32 years without winning it.

“Generations of players and fans didn’t know what it was to win the European Cup. But then we won it and it was like being freed.

“Because of this we also then won the eighth and ninth titles. Hopefully the same can happen again.

“I hope they can win La Decima and overcome this small issue. Our generation deserves a lot of credit. Playing three finals in four years and winning all three was a great achievement.

“I think that now it’s easier to win the Champions League than it was to win the European Cup. In the Group Stage you are able to make mistakes and there are some teams who finish second and third in their domestic Leagues who are in the tournament.

“To clarify, I only think it’s easier relatively speaking because winning the Champions League is a lot more difficult than people think.

“It’s not just Madrid who want to win it. There are lots of good teams who want the same.”

Tags Bolton Wanderers Hierro