REAL MADRID

Guti's early coaching days at Real Madrid: "They thought I'd get tired of it after six months..."

The Almería coach was interviewed by Jorge Valdano for his programme on #Vamos. Guti recalled starting out as assistant coach with the Under-12s as "strange".

Almería coach José María Gutiérrez's introduction to coaching didn't exactly turn out how he had envised it would. His first job was with Real Madrid - his hometown club, the one he had joined as a nine-year-old and left as a 33-year-old but as he confessed to Jorge Valdano in tomorrow's episode of Universo Valdano, while he expected to start off on the bottom rung in La Fábrica, he couldn't quite get his head around the idea that he wouldn't even be actually coaching the Under-12s - just acting as deputy to first coach Alberto Garrido, who curiously, is now Raúl's right-hand man at Real Madrid Castilla...

"That was a bit strange. It was something that they thought was a good idea. It's not that I expected to start out with one of the older categories. I just would have preferred to have started as the head coach and not the assistant. It was almost as though I was being pigeon-holed again... it was a case of 'Oh it's Guti, let see what happens. He'll soon get tired of it and in six months he'll be off...' I did feel as though I was under probation, definitely. I felt the same as I did when I was nine years old and playing for my team in Torrejón - that's how I felt. Now, at least I do feel like a coach. But it was a very long probation period because I wasn't only assistant coach with the Under-11s, I was also assistant coach with the Under-13s, the Under-15s... and as you know, some of my former team mates, ex-Madrid players, were given more responsibility right from the start".

Amost seven years' on and JM Gutiérrez may well have the last laugh. He has only been in the Almería job since the start of November and his side are flying high at the top of the Second Division, five points clear of the play-off places. And who knows? maybe Guti will get Almería promoted back to the top flight and face his former employers Real Madrid next season...