‘Raul needs time and space’

A former teammate of Raul at Real Madrid believes the former captain will return to the club as Coach but ‘needs time and space, as Zinedine Zidane did.’

Sandro, who started his training at Tenerife and later moved to Madrid to be part of the same generation as Raul and Guti, has spoken to AS after making a comeback in the Tercera aged 41, signing for Ibarra.

“We’re still in contact,” he said, referring to the group of youth team graduates dubbed ‘La Quinta de la Galletta,’ of which Raul and Guti were the most successful.

“Raul is Real Madrid. I don’t know if he’ll coach the team soon, but I get the impression he plans to do it sometime. But he needs time and space, as Zidane did.

“Zidane will do very well. He’s a football man. I know everything evolves but in the end, football is the players.”

Sandro was trained in the B team by Rafa Benitez, Zidane’s predecessor, at a time when Jorge Valdano was Coach of the first team and he had a taste of the seniors, before dropping back to Castilla and eventually leaving, playing more than 200 times for Malaga.

“Rafa was always affectionate with that generation of players. Everyone knows his career and his statistics. But being Madrid Coach is complicated,” Sandro said of his former boss.

“I played under Valdano and then I didn’t play for Castilla. I don’t think it was Valdano’s fault or Benitez’s fault, it was my fault. I showed what I had in the first team and then in Castilla, when I returned, I wasn’t psychologically prepared.”

Sandro roomed with Raul when the iconic forward made his Madrid debut at Real Zaragoza, and recalled the nerves of his teammate the night before.

“He took a major leap. Being in the Segunda B two weeks earlier with Castilla and a week later he debuted as a starter in Zaragoza,” he remembered.

“He was very nervous. We shared a room that night and he started walking around the room with the lights off.

“I woke up and could feel someone was moving in the dark. We showered and left the hotel by the back door for a walk to relax. He did alright, no?”

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