Del Bosque's right-hand man
In an interview with El Confidencial, Toni Grande, Vicente del Bosque's loyal assistant coach at Real Madrid and later with the Spanish national team, gave an insite into the inner workings of the club under Florentino Pérez and criticized the president for his treatment of club employees.
Not feeling welcome at the Bernabéu: "I'd prefer not to go there if it means having a bad time. When Vicente and myself when to the president's box at the Bernabéu, we felt uncomfortable for the insults which more than one or two fans aimed at us from the stands. I thought to myself, and I later mentioned it to Vicente, that the aggression was planned and the orders likely came from someone high up at the club. In other grounds - like the Calderón, the Pizjuan or Camp Nou we never had any problems".
Sacked after winning the league
On Sunday 22 June 2003 Real Madrid celebrated winning the league at Cibeles, the following day, less than 24 hours later, Del Bosque and his technical team were told that their contracts would not be renewed.
"It was totally unfair. It hurt more for the way it was done than that our contracts were not being renewed. We were kicked out with a disregard which was inexplicable. In other words, in the same as the president did with Fernando Redondo, Figo, Raúl, Casillas… What surpised us the most was, after going to the events organized by the local council and the Community of Madrid for winning the league, we were not allowed to take the squad's training sessions for the remaining days of our contracts. As for the current climate, what saddens me most about Madrid is the way in which they expel their employees. In other words, without any of the courtesy and good manners which have been the club's hallmark throughout history.
"In the penultimate game of the season we were 0-4 up away at Atlético. That result meant we were virtually guaranteed to end as champions. As the players were celebrated the win in the dressing room, in walk Florentino and Jorge Valdano. We all thought that they had come in to congratulate us for an important win, but on seeing the look on the faces of the president and Director of Sport, I can remember one player saying: “It looks like someone wasn't happy that we beat Atlético”. That was when we started to suspect that we were in the firing line".
No love lost for Florentino: "How can you have any kind of affection for a man who won't deal face to face and who changes from one day to the next? And there is something else which is unforgiveable as far as I am concerned. I am referring to those who claim that Vicente and myself are not madridistas. How can it be possible for two men who have spent over thirty years at Real Madrid not going to have any feelings towards the club!".
2003 UEFA Super Cup final
Morientes ousted and Raúl's reaction: "I remember perfectly what happened that night at Stade Louis II in Monaco. We were less than an hour away from kick-off in the Super Cup final against Feyenoord, there was a trophy in play; Jorge Valdano enters the dressing room, turns to Vicente and says: “Tell Fernando Morientes not to get changed because he is going to be transferred. It's an order from the president and there is no way it can be reversed”. On hearing the news, nearly all of the players started screaming and shouting - especially Raúl, because Morientes is like a brother to him. There is no way to explain the president's stance in that situation - Fernando could have at least been on the subs' bench. On returning to Madrid, somebody told Florentino that Raúl had flown into a rage and after that, the relationship between the two was never the same".