Former Real Madrid defender Cicinho recalls the locker room when he was at Santiago Bernabeu as ‘manipulative,’ citing Raul, Iker Casillas and others.
Cicinho, who recently opened up about his battle with alcoholism, told ESPN Brazil that the club was riven by cliques in the time he was there.
“When Roberto Carlos left, I was the starter. Sergio Ramos was the centre-back and sometimes right-back and Michel Salgado was the third choice. They decided to name a third captain. Raul was first, Casillas was second but they gave the second to Salgado so he could play. Julio Baptista told me about it,” Cicinho claimed, AS reports.
“Guti, Salgado, Ivan Helguera, Raul, Casillas…they were the leaders of the clique. And the ones who entered the group were the ones who did what they said. They manipulated. They would eat the Coach’s head and the Press.
“For example, one day Ronaldo had a bad game, and the next day it was on the cover of the newspaper that Raul was better than him. Raul would need to be born three times to be like Ronaldo.
“And I was in their country, earning as much as they were. And playing in their places. I got there and Salgado had been there for 11 years. In the locker room every player has their locker and he was waving to everyone but when he was going to greet me, he'd skip me.
“That happened the first few times and I bent forward and tied my boots and didn’t care. But then we had a very good relationship. He never tried to mess with me. At first, yes, I was excluded a little, but then nothing. I was the big culprit for not staying at Madrid.”
“I’m the one who was hurt. When I sat down to say I wanted to leave so they sold me to Roma, I spoke to Totti and Doni and they said Madrid were messing with me. If I’d been professional I’d still be there.”