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ESPANYOL

Tamudo: "Madrid fans still love me for that ‘Tamudazo’"

The Espanyol legend analyzed tomorrow’s clash at the Bernabéu with AS and spoke about what he’s been up to since hanging up his boots.

Tamudo: "Madrid fans still love me for that ‘Tamudazo’"
Rodolfo Molina DIARIO AS

Raúl Tamudo sat down with AS to pore over tomorrow’s meeting between Real Madrid and Espanyol at the Bernabéu. The 38-year-old also chatted about what he has been up to since hanging up his boots in September last year.

Is this the worst time to be visiting the Bernabéu?

The draw against Villarreal really hurt Espanyol - for how it happened, but when you play Madrid at their ground, you have to set out to put in a good game and try to take a point at least. Espanyol have quite a few players out injured but on the other hand, that could turn out to be a positive thing because those who are out can focus on the upcoming games which we need to win.

Is your chip over Casillas your best memory of playing Real Madrid?

It was one of the best goals I scored in my career and we put in a very complete game that day. Although, for a particular game, I’ll pick the Copa del Rey semi-final return leg in 2000, which we won.

And yet your most memorable performance at the Bernabéu wasn’t even against Madrid…

The Bernabéu is an extraordinarily tough ground to play at but in the 2006 Cup final against Zaragoza we really enjoyed playing there – with the fans etc and we won. It’s an amazing experience to win the Copa del Rey there.

Your ‘Tamudazo’ is also fondly remembered by Madrid’s supporters...

It’s understandable that they were grateful for that, because both of the goals I scored at Camp Nou allowed Madrid to win the league. But I only did my job, without knowing how Madrid were getting on in Zaragoza. I was only told about it after the game. For me, that was an historic day because I became Espanyol’s top goal scorer of all-time in the league. It was a real pleasure to do it at Camp Nou. I entered the history books of my lifeliong club and that beats everything else.

You faced several different Madrid sides. Which one made the most impact on you?

The team which featured Figo, Zidane, Beckham, Ronaldo… The current Madrid squad is excellent as well but none have been quite like that one. You’d go to the Bernabéu knowing you have only the slimmest chance of getting anything; it was an unbelievable side which played incredible football. I think that was one of the best Madrid sides in their history.

Are you surprised by the great moment of form Benzema’s in?

He has always played a crucial role in helping the team and setting up others to score as Cristiano would usually be getting the goals but it’s good for Madrid that Benzema is scoring so regularly because it gives them even more resources in attack.

Do you think Cristiano looks tired?

He’s a professional and it shows. The problem with forwards is the people only see the goals – and not all of the work that is done in the background. Cristiano’s not having his best season but I see him working as hard as he always has.

With Zidane, the whole team has improved...

Now the players look comfortable and happier – maybe because Zidane can give them something which Benítez couldn’t. They’re enjoying their football. When one of the greatest players in the world is coaching you, you listen because he knows what he is talking about.

Do you see yourself taking on the Espanyol job one day?

Right now I am relaxed, following football as a fan and enjoying my life, and my son… But you never know. At this moment, I doubt it but in five years’ time, who knows?

What are your thoughts on Chen Yansheng’s revolution at Espanyol?

Any improvements at the club, whether economically or in sporting aspects are more than welcome. You also have to be aware that money doesn’t always guarantee success. You have to make sure that things are done well and about the results follow. If the fans are at ease, knowing that we won’t be forced to sell players to raise cash, we’ll be delighted.

Can you see Espanyol in the Champions League within three years’ time?

Let’s hope so. We came very close one year before Mister Chen was here. I hope to see Espanyol in the Champions League, or the Europa League and win it, which would remove a thorn which has been in our sides for a long time.

Do you suffer more now watching the team from the stands at Cornellà?

I suffer if the team doesn’t perform. And I enjoy it when the team gives everything they have got – even if we don’t win – like last Saturday. I go home happy because I always love watching Espanyol play.

What are your current plans?

On 7 March I’ll be starting a Sports Director course in Las Rozas. It’s a two-month course. I want to study so that I will be able to return to work in football if I decide I like it.