Dani Carvajal doesn’t feel he got a fair shot when Jose Mourinho was Real Madrid Coach, and discusses Zinedine Zidane and Rafa Benitez.
Carvajal came through the Madrid cantera but in 2012 left Santiago Bernabeu after he struggled to get out of RM Castilla with Mourinho on the first team bench, spending a year at Bayer Leverkusen before returning to La Liga.
“Mourinho didn’t give me opportunities. When I came back I needed a year away. And if I hadn’t done well I would have said I didn’t have the level for Madrid. I thought I was perfectly prepared for the first team but hey, the Coach, in this case, Mourinho, didn’t count on me,” the right-back told Marca.
“I preferred to make my way in Europe, in another League, to staying in the Segunda with Castilla. I left with the idea of returning. In life you have to overcome difficulties that make you stronger, obstacles for a player to pass, to mature, to make you a better person.”
Carvajal was asked if he felt the team changed when Zizou replaced Benitez in January, and said that in his opinion, the mood was lifted.
“The team didn’t change. We were the same players. I think the mentality changed. We needed fresh air. With Benitez, the team, the atmosphere, the fans, weren’t really into the group. It was all negativity,” he recalled.
“We weren’t very optimistic, the intensity in training, which went into games. I also think that if we had another Coach in those first months it would have been positive, because we needed a change.
“Zidane found the key. He came in hard but he has also been fair. Whoever deserved to play, has played. That’s very important to a group. I can’t be unhappy. I’ve played 50% of games, I’ve been out for three or four months with one thing or another, and I know I’ve had tough competition. In the final stretch the Coach opted for me. Balancing the good and bad, I finished well, overcame a lot of difficulties but it’s also a year to take into account and improve.”