Real Madrid: Carlos Queiroz reveals "a secret" about Sergio Ramos and Pepe
The former Colombia coach looked back on his time at Real Madrid and says he has every sympathy for current coach Zidane for the pressure he is under.
'Zizou' has all of my support and sympathy. He's suffering, like all coaches do, from a unstable situation that nobody can really explain. It's not the same playing or having to turn a tie around at the Bernabéu with all the fans behind you than doing it behind closed doors in Valdebebas; at the moment, it's the same if you are playing at home or away. Passing judgement on coaches during the pandemic is cruel. It's hard to get a real understanding of what is going on during training sessions and in competition. For example, Spain's 6-0 win over Germany was very strange. I congratulate Spain but some of the football we have been seeing during the pandemic hasn't been normal. Real Madrid and their president Florentino Pérez have done well in not making rash decisions and not paying any attention to the opinions from outside the club.
Sergio Ramos arrived after you had left...
I'll let you into a little secret, something which I am sure Florentino will remember. When I first arrived in Madrid, together with Jorge Valdano, the first thing I did was request that the club should sign Sergio Ramos and Pepe. If they had done that, perhaps I would still be Madrid coach today! I wanted to sign the great captain right from my first day in Madrid. What more can you say about Sergio!
Before your arrival in Madrid, you were Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man at Manchester United. United are going through a diffucult time and they are in a period of transition. How do you think they can recover their place among Europe's elite teams and start reaping success?
Recovering your place in the Premier League is very difficult, all of the other teams have a lot of quality. But I have two pieces of advice which could apply to Manchester United - and also to Colombia. Bobby Charlton told me that the secret behind United's success was that they had loyalty and complete faith in the people who worked there; in both the best and worst moments; that is the secret to Manchester United. Those who are working there now have the solutions to get the team out of the bad moments.
And another piece of advice which Alex Ferguson would always say about United's succes is that nothing, nobody is above the team. Those are two very important lessons. In Colombia, there are a lot of people who know everything about football but you need to understand that today's game is all about the team, personalities, and that it is important to trust people because no one is above the team.
Another player with links to Real Madrid who you have coached is James Rodríguez. What impression did you have of him when you were Colombia coach?
I've always preferred to talk about the team rather than individuals. As my friend Alex Ferguson would always say, the team is above everything else. Unfortunately for me and for the Colombia national side, it's never been possible to have James at 100%. The situation with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich meant that he never was given regular playing time and someone like James needs that to produce his best football. At the 2014 World Cup, James was sensational, but it hasn't been possible for him to contribute to the best of his ability. James suffered a lot with his situation, and the team did too. Now he's starting to play more regularly at Everton, but unfortunately our careers have taken us in opposite directions.