Carlos Queiroz saw an eight-point lead slip through his fingers during the 2003-04 season, back when he was Real Madrid’s manager. That capitulation allowed Rafa Benítez’s Valencia to win LaLiga. The Portuguese coach took to the airwaves last night and, speaking on Spanish station La COPE, compared his Madrid side to the current Barcelona outfit being managed by Luis Enrique.
Similarities: “We didn’t let our heads drop after losing the Cup final to Zaragoza. That had already happened at the start of the season. Considering the squad we had, it was a miracle we took an eight-point lead over Valencia”.
Barcelona: “You can’t compare Barça’s current squad with ours from back then. They are experienced players and a downturn in form shouldn’t affect players with the quality that Barcelona’s possess”.
“Barcelona haven’t sold Luis Suárez, the way we did Morientes by by letting him go to Monaco. Nor have they sold Busquets, like we did when Makelele went to Chelsea”.
“At the time I said a Ferrari engine is no use without wheels. With all due respect we should have held onto Fernando Morientes, not sold Claude Makelele and signed a good centre half, to replace Hierro. There was a massive gulf in quality between Ronaldo and Portillo and, it pains me to say it but, the same was true in terms of Hierro and Rubén”.
Who will win LaLiga: “As long as Barcelona play as they have been, they’ll have a very strong chance of winning. It’s likely that the Barça players are exhausted after going to South America on international duty".
Florentino: “He’s a fantastic person but when he gets to thinking he knows everything about football he makes mistakes. The president didn’t want to understand how things worked and in the end it was me who was made to pay”.
On whether Ferguson has told him if Mourinho is taking over at Manchester United: “What’s said between friends stays between friends”.