Raul: Madrid had to play well

Real Madrid icon Raul feels football has lost the excitement that was common in his playing days. ‘At Madrid, we had a commitment to playing well…’

Raul currently works with La Liga in the United States, after ending his career at New York Cosmos, and in an interview with AS explained what his role is and if he has plans to train a team.

“I’m happy with this today. It was my choice. I’m here because I want to be, no one has forced me. I think it can help my future a lot. I’m in touch with the business side, but also in touch with a lot of Spanish teams, organising tournaments, I speak with the United States Soccer Federation, with the MLS, I watch games, sometimes I join a group on the pitch and help with training,” he revealed, before lamenting the robotic style that has crept into football.

“There’s little improvisation. I’m not saying the result is not important, but I believe in dynamism such as Chile have. They go to the game, and go, until they win. Atletico Madrid and Leicester City? That’s not to detract from what they do. And more so, of those who had the potential to play well, few did.

“Atletico has a way of understanding the game that has given results in recent years. They have won La Liga, reached two Champions League Finals, won the Europa League. Its people have a reason to be proud of that team.

“Everyone has to find their way to achieve their goals. Great teams have to win. But in my time in Madrid, that wasn’t enough. We had a commitment to play well. Atletico eliminated Barcelona, Bayern Munich and nearly won the Champions League. It seems they have something very solid.

“I like to see more attacking, dynamic football and to try to win the game from the start. I feel closer to that, but I value and respect what others do and how they are able to compete. I also like a team. You have to have balance. How can I not respect those who do that, who defend well but are able to, within five seconds, score a goal on the counter? Believe me, it needs many hours of training.

“There you find the excitement of the fans. The semi-final between Madrid and Manchester City was very boring. Madrid played well at times, City too, but there were times when you said: ‘They don’t want to lose. They’re afraid.’

“A lot of people around me say I’ll be a Coach. I still haven’t given it up entirely. When I’m on the pitch, with the kids, I enjoy it. I can say that much. So I’ll have to ignore the people around me, those who know me, they say there’s a part of me that’s a Coach. We have to wait and see.

“The idea of how you play can’t be the same if you’re training a team fighting for their country’s title, the Champions League or against relegation. Football has to be understood in all its dimensions. I’m open to everything. Being a Coach is a complicated profession, and football is so big and so wonderful because there are many ways to reach the objective.

“If I had to choose [my style] it would be Pep Guardiola’s Bayern, Madrid, at times lately, the Borussia Dortmund of Jurgen Klopp…there can be different styles, but all three teams go forward and as a fan, I liked it. That’s the summary. I think it’s more players than the system.”

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