Former Chelsea and Real Madrid defensive midfielder Claude Makelele attended the Aspire4Sport convention hosted in London at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night. The French enforcer answered many questions fired at him by media about his stint at Real Madrid.
Makelele cherished his successful stint at Real Madrid
“I arrived from Celta and Zidane, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Figo, Raul, Hierro were all there… imagine that. It was a very big club and you know that you always have to win. Then there are the personal goals that you set and there were many of those. [The coach, Vicente] Del Bosque knew how to do his job well.” said the former Real Madrid player recalling his memories at Bernabeu
The former Real Madrid man poured praises on his teammates at Bernabeu saying,
“In life, there are geniuses, men who anticipate things, like Cruyff in football. Those are players from another level, another world. I was fortunate to have two close to me in Zidane and Ronaldo. In training, I kept looking at them to learn how they got that advantage on everyone else and Zidane helped me a lot.
I wasn’t ashamed to be nutmegged in training because I was watching, learning and prepared to anticipate the next time. That’s how I got along with Zidane. Learning from the best is easy and it isn’t just footballers, coaches should also learn.”
The defensive midfielder claimed “patience” as an important key to success when he was asked about the message he wants to convey to aspiring footballers.
“Patience is the key. Now, there are many coaches but few teachers, men who can teach young people to be calm and know how to wait. You have to be patient but it is difficult when you’re young. Now, young people want everything and they want it yesterday.”
“I had patience and my eyes were always wide open. From the age of 17, I wanted to learn and noticed everything, the movements, the dribbles and I was fortunate to have people in France who always gave me good advice and listened to me. Young people must be educated but not only in tactics.” Said the French player.
Casemiro reminds Makelele of himself
The Frenchman praised Casemiro naming him as his heir at Real Madrid.
“Casemiro plays very well. Before the final of the Champions League in Milan, I was chatting with him in the dressing room. He knows the position that he played very well and makes it look easy with the quality of his work.”
He reminds me of myself. Some thought I was just running but technically, you have to know where to be and what to do. Casemiro is very smart and is always well positioned. He can score goals too which I didn’t do much [laughs].”
The Frenchman praised Zidane too when he was questioned about his former teammate’s success as a coach so far.
“I’m not surprised he’s doing so well. The key is that he has played at that same level as his players and understands them and how they work. Plus, you can always say, ‘Hey, I’m Zidane’. Handling a dressing room with such great players is very difficult though, even if you are Zidane. He’s doing a great job because he’s very smart.”
Makelele had no goal against his name in Real Madrid’s jersey in 94 matches he played for the club, but it was his “ball snatching and keeping the possession ability” which allowed the forwards to score goals in large number.
Makelele rightly named Casemiro as his “Heir” at Real Madrid. The Brazilian surely has the ability to balance the team and has also shown his finishing skills whenever he got the chance and has scored goals at important moments for Madrid.