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Fernando Hierro: “Lorenzo Sanz was our second father”

Gabby Barker

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-You signed for Madrid in the summer of 1989. When Lorenzo Sanz became President you already knew him by having been with Ramón Mendoza. How was that

-As he was always very close with everyone and having been vice president for several years, we practically did not notice the change. Of course, in management we saw something that caught our attention. Despite Madrid experiencing severe economic difficulties despite the greatness of the club, Lorenzo had in his head to return Madrid to the highest in Europe. And boy did he get it.

-It was a difficult time after the four leagues of Cruyff's Dream Team and the drought in Europe.

-True. In fact, in terms of money, Milan, Inter or the great English teams were unattainable for us. But Lorenzo had the audacity to believe in a winning project and bet on it. The madridistas will have to thank him eternally because he changed our history.

-What was your secret?

-Well, having the ingenuity to bring Roberto Carlos from Inter, Suker from Sevilla, Panucci from Milan and Seedorf from Ajax for a price that in today's market would be classified as plum. Only Mijatovic, having to pay the clause to Valencia, was expensive in quotes. Then he also brought Karembeu through which half Europe stuck. And he signed Zé Roberto who was a great team player and Illgner who was the goalkeeper of the Germany team. I remember that Roberto Carlos was with Inter in a previous Bernabéu Trophy and we saw that it was going to be a machine. When Lorenzo signed him for only 600 million pesetas of the time we hallucinated. He seemed like an impossible player in our situation. Without going crazy, Lorenzo built a champion team.

-What was the secret of that triumphant Madrid after several bad years, except for the league won with Valdano?

-At the arrival of Capello. In Milan he had triumphed and his model gave the team a very competitive air. Capello laid the foundation for what came a year later with Heynckes. The secret is that we had a group that was a perfect mix of veterans, star signings from outside and youth squads. The best locker room I've ever been in. We were much more than a soccer team. We would meet to eat all the staff every two or three weeks. To make pineapple, to talk about our problems, our concerns. Everyone together. We were a family that played soccer.

-Why was it so important to win the Seventh?

-It was vital because Madrid returned to gain the respect of all Europe. Our past was unmatched, but there were already many years of waiting. In Madrid the requirement is maximum and you live up to date, it is not worth looking back. It wasn't just the Seventh. Six months later the Intercontinental was conquered with the famous Goal of the Aguanís from Raúl. It had been almost forty years since we had won it. We believed in ourselves a lot and we were capable of everything. We reigned in Europe, in the world … Without the chemistry in the locker room and the good relationship with the club it would have been impossible.

-He gives Lorenzo Sanz a lot of value for that achievement.

-Of course, time puts everyone in their place even if they had to go through this terrible misfortune so that the youngest know what they did. He put Madrid back in the world dimension it had lost. Those three titles were achieved in the times when Milan, Bayern, United or Barça seemed to be ahead. With these three conquests, FIFA had no choice but to give us the title of Best Club of the 20th Century. That push was final.

Shield / Flag Real Madrid

-The funny thing is that two years after the Seventh the team base was changed and they were able to win it again.

– Yes, there was Lorenzo's cunning with the signings. In summer Suker, Mijatovic and Panucci left, Seedorf in the winter market, Karembeu did not count anymore … And even so he made an almost new team since only Roberto Carlos, Redondo, Raúl, Morientes and I followed from the base. A very good national base came with Helguera, Iván Campo, Karanka, Míchel Salgado. And he brought Savio and Anelka. Another project won despite the economic difficulties we had. It seems like a miracle, but he made it happen.

-And you almost missed the final in Paris.

– It is that two and a half months before I broke the ligament of a knee in a League match against Betis. I talked to the doctors and they told me that if we made it through to the quarterfinals and the semifinals, I could go to the end. I prepared myself only for that purpose. My teammates knew how to respect my dream, because they eliminated none other than United and Bayern Munich. Vicente (by Del Bosque) He handled the squad's resources very well and put out two heats in an impressive way. The Old Trafford game is still on my mind. I remember that five days before the final in Paris we played at the Bernabéu against Valladolid, in the last league game, and Vicente took twenty minutes to prove me. I did not feel well. I was honest and on the eve of the final I told him that he was not there to start.

-But in the end he played …

-Yes. We made a tremendous game against that Valencia that was scary. With Raúl's 3-0 I was already sentenced the final and Vicente took the last minutes from me. Me and Manolo Sanchís. It was a detail that shows how the coach is also as a person. We were highly valued by the players.

-Let's go back to Lorenzo Sanz. How was the deal with you?

-It was one of ours. One more. Always loving … and always demanding. For me he was a second father. Very human, he attended you in everything every time he saw us in training at the Sports City. He cared about everything. He was one of the group but be careful, if he got angry the walls could shake. But from inside doors. That he always respected. He was not facing the gallery. I define him as a great Real Madrid player and so he must be reminded.

-Let's talk about you. He won three Champions in the field and almost won the fourth as Zidane's assistant.

-Yes, I always say jokingly if I meet Morata that he avoided him. On the return leg of the semifinal with Juventus, at the break of the Bernabéu game we won 1-0 and we were in the final in Berlin against Barça. But Morata caught a ball in the second half and left us wanting …

-Since we have named Zidane, how do you see him in this second stage?

-Better than what is said. It looks perfect. What happens is that the end of his first stage was difficult to do a restructuring or a change when you come from winning three Champions in a row. It's easy to say but tell me how you do it. But what he accomplished on the bench is unrepeatable. As a Real Madrid player, I consider that with Zidane Madrid are in good hands.

Gabby is someone who is interested in all types of sports, she loves to attend watching matches live. Whenever there is a match being played in her city, she makes sure to get the tickets in advance. Due to the love for sports, she joined Sportsfinding, and started writing general sports news. Apart from writing the news, she is also the editor for the website who checks and edits every news content before they go live.

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