In an interview in today's Mundo Deportivo, John Toshack made his thoughts clear on the current Real Madrid side and was highly critical of Sergio Ramos for the number of red and yellow cards he has received, Cristiano for not understanding why he gets whistled and Gareth Bale for playing out of his natural position. 'Tosh' also admitted that he is fed up to the back teeth of the ongoing and seemingly endless bickering between Spain's central defensive pair Ramos and Piqué. But he did have a lot of positive things to say about Zidane who he feels is doing a brilliant job.
Football never fails to surprise, say Toshack
Who do you see winning LaLiga? "I'm reminded of when Barça won a couple of leagues on the final day. We, at Real Sociedad, were playing at Camp Nou when Madrid lost the league in Tenerife. We've seen so many things happen in Spain; there's a well known Spanish saying about a bull's tail (in English: It's not over until the fat lady sings) - things can change dramatically in minute 90 or 92... We are talking about two teams who can score with the last kick of the match. The expected thing is Barça will win their matches and Madrid will win theirs.
Ramos should have more red cards than the 22 he's been shown
Sergio Ramos' disciplinary record: "He has been shown more cards than any player in Madrid's history. He's overtaken Hierro in being sent off (22) and that's more than any other player at his club. In the Club World Cup final he should have been sent off but the referee was too afraid to send a Real Madrid player off. The same thing happened the other day. It will be very difficult for a player to be shown as many cards as Ramos has".
Cristiano, offside in the derby: "They say he was positionally offside or that he wasn't interfering with play, but if he is not interfering he shouldn't be there. If I am a centre-back and I see a forward who is standing a metre away from me and he is offside, I'm not going to drop back to mark him. I'll stay where I am because he's offside, but then he scores and all of a sudden he isn't offside... It's very difficult to be right in those decisions".
Toshack feels Bale is playing out of position
Gareth Bale: "The biggest problem Bale has had, and I know him well because he made his debut for Wales with us when he was 17, is that when he started out he was a left-back. For me, he's still a left-back. I think that's his best position. Bale is left-footed but he is played out wide on the right - I've never seen Roberto Carlos played on the right wing. People say you can't be the best player in the world if you play at left-back but I remind them of Maldini, Roberto Carlos and Camacho. Also, Bale had that serious injury when he was still young and I think that has marked his development".
The 'Toshack System': "A lot of teams are playing with what they used to call the 'Toshack System' - a flat back four with a sweeper. I started using that system in Wales, when I was a player-manager. At Real Sociedad, we won the Copa del Rey in Zaragoza and with Madrid we won the league playing with that system and now they are calling it 'revolutionary'. I remember [former Madrid president, Ramón] Mendoza has his doubts about it but I remember him with a cigar in his mouth and laughing when we were celebrating the league title: 'Defensive system, eh? 107 goals! A league record!'. Cruyff also used that set-up".
Cristiano can't see why fans whistle him
Fans whistling Cristiano: "I understand it, but I don't think he does.. (laughs). He is the only one who doesn't understand why he gets whistled. That's something that comes with your pay packet. Nobody likes to be whistled. But if they don't whistle you, they'll just whistle someone else".
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Messi: "Without taking absolutely anything away from Ronaldo, I don't think we are ever going to see anything like Messi again in our lifetimes".
60 million euro price tag on 16-year-old Vinicius Júnior: "(takes deep breath) When I signed for Liverpool I earned 80 pounds a week. The stadium had a capacity of 54,000 and the club paid us two pounds for every person who came to the game. If the stadium was full we earned an extra 16 pounds - so that makes about 100 pound a week. With that salary we could go to Benidorm for three or four days!! The money they are talking about today is beyond my imagination. I can't understand it. All I can say is that back in my day, we all knew that not all of us would go on to become coaches so you needed enough to be able to start a small business; but now players who are 21, 22 are earning enough to last them a lifetime. Where's the motivation if you are on that kind of money? Coaching today is much harder than it was years ago".
Toshack's brief return to the Bernabéu in 1999
Second stint as Real Madrid coach: "It was nothing like my first stint in Madrid. It was 10 years later - there were the 'Ferrari Boys' and they weren't very pleasant. They had just won the Champions League against Juventus and they thought they were the bee's knees. Hiddink came in to replace Heynckes, but he only lasted six months. It was very difficult".
Renewing Zidane's contract: "Maybe Zidane has already renewed but judging by Luis Enrique's case, it's probably better not to say anything because it's like the kiss of death. He says he hasn't spoken to anyone about it and Florentino hasn't said anything".
"Zidane reminds me of an old Bill Shankly quote when he said the only thing that surprises me about football is that the fans get surprised - when anything can happen in football. I was watching Madrid the other day and I thought to myself: 'If you made a team from the best players in the history of the club, how many of the current players would get into the team?' I couldn't think of any of them - possibly Cristiano. The surprising thing is that they are in the Champions League final again. There have been other Madrid coaches who have had better squads than Zidane so he must be doing something right.
Tosh not amused by Piqué-Ramos' pettiness
The bickering between Piqué and Ramos: "If I was coach at either of those clubs, I would find it very difficult to tolerate that sort of behaviour. I don't find either of them very funny. Ramos has more red cards than any player at his club and that's not including the ones he should have been given. If I had to field two central defenders out of all of the teams I have coached during the past 14 years, I wouldn't field either of them".
Do you fancy returning to coaching? "I started out as manager when I was 28 and I had a few advantages at the time. Now I am 68 and I have 40 years' experience which I didn't have then. So we'll see, but as Bill Shankly used to say, until they've put you in your wooden pyjamas, lowered you into the ground and thrown sand on top, you haven't retired...
- Roque Mesa1007Passes
*Update 12 de mayo de 2017