Royston Drenthe gave an interview to FourFourTwo in which he reflected on his time at Real Madrid, giving an insight into the dressing room in 2007.
Royston Drenthe has opened up about his time at Real Madrid in an interview with FourfourTwo. The Dutch winger, who is playing with his local club Sparta in Rotterdam, lifted the lid on life inside the Madrid dressing room with some hitherto unknown anecdotes…
Getting noticed at the 2007 U21 Euros
Joining Real Madrid in 2007: "At the time I heard that 16 clubs were interested in me. I spoke with Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Predrag Mijatovic, director of football at Real Madrid. It felt like I met almost every high-ranking official at every club. Most of them offered me a five-year contract with more or less the same conditions. As soon as I heard Real Madrid were interested, my mind was made up".
Fascination with Real Madrid: "As a boy, I was fascinated by everything around Madrid. The glamour around Real, like the kind you see in the [Danny Cannon] movie Goal!, was something I really wanted to be part of".
Being welcomed into the dressing room: "I immediately felt at home. Everyone gave me a warm welcome. Guti was cool with me straight away, and he was the man in Madrid – a legend. I developed a good bond with Robinho soon after I arrived. Sometimes I would go to his house, where he’d converted his basement into a mini-nightclub".
First few months at Madrid: "It was just magic. We had a lot of good players with the right mix of experience and youth, from Ruud van Nistelrooy, Guti and Raúl to young guys like me, [Gonzalo] Higuaín, [Fernando] Gago and Marcelo. It clicked instantly. In that situation, a manager doesn’t have too much to do".
Bernd Schuster's sacking in December 2008 after winning the league the previous season: "That was something new to me - seeing a coach sacked so quickly".
Fielded at left-back in the 2009-10 season: "That season I was able to eat opponents. I thought I’d be playing in every game. There was no reason to take me out of the team, but the board said Marcelo had to play too, and after that we took it in turns. Jorge Valdano was probably keener on Marcelo..."
José Mourinho's arrival in 2010: "Mourinho told me that I’d be given playing time but in the end, he said Valdano had indicated it would be better for me to go on loan. I mentioned to Valdano what Jose had told me, but the decision was made. I had to be loaned out".
On loan at Hércules and Everton
Loan spell at Hércules, players' strike: “That was the first time that side issues caused me trouble in football. I took it really seriously and perhaps it left a mark there. Mourinho wasn’t too happy that I’d gone on strike; he said that, as a Real Madrid player, I couldn’t do that. But he only said that at the end of the season. He could have called me at Hercules to ask about the situation there”.
Madrid stint comes to an end in 2012: "There was quite a bit of interest but Real Madrid were still in my head and it was difficult to let go – I was comparing every other team with them. I had everything in Madrid, including my house. It was difficult to leave that behind me."
Telling David Moyes where to go after arriving late to a team meeting at Everton: "I was waiting outside the room; whereas I probably should have just walked in quietly and taken a seat. When I went in afterwards, Moyes told me to f**k off. I should have accepted it, but I said, ‘What do you mean, f**k off, bro? You f**k off.’ And then I left for Holland and didn’t come back".