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Manu Sainz | 30/12/2012
In the last round of Liga fixtures before the Christmas break, Mourinho relegated Casillas to the bench. What do you think of that?
I think it's great that Mou dropped Casillas. Mourinho is the one in charge. That's the case when they win, when they lose and when they draw. Mourinho is the coach whether Casillas likes it or not, and despite what everyone else says. You sign a coach and you put up with him; sign a goalkeeper, and you put up with him; sign a left-back, and you put up with him. I?ll give you an example: Arbeloa can't compete in a comparison with Dani Alves, but he's playing for Real Madrid. And who questions him? How many goals has Arbeloa scored? How many shots has he had? We'll see who has the best team player by player and then we'll talk.
Do you think the 16-point gap between Madrid and Barcelona at the halfway point in the Liga is a fair one? How do you explain it?
Madrid's physical condition always drops and they weaken. But that doesn't happen for Barcelona. The same thing happened to us in Italy with the teams from the South and the teams from the North. I understood it later on. Maybe we didn't have enough strength just before the holidays or at the restart to to be on top of our game mentally or physically. But I think the difference between Barcelona and Madrid at this stage of the season is an exaggeration.
You witnessed the moment when FIFA's Association of Agents chose Mourinho as the best coach of the year. Do you think he's the best in the world?
I think he's incredible. He and Guardiola have shown they've got the personality and the toughness. They've provided everything that you can ask of a coach to lead a group. And it's not easy. It's really hard to bring together all those personalities in a dressing room, and in the confusion it's much easier to lose a match.
Other legends like Di Stéfano and Cruyff have coached in Spain. Could you see yourself managing a Liga team?
What's happening to Don Alfredo hurts me personally at the moment, because he was a my flag bearer in Spain a little bit. I don't know when I'm going to coach in Spain. But the only thing I'll tell you is that I don't lack the hunger. It just needs a president or somebody who thinks that I could work in such a competitive game as the Spanish one, and who'd give me the chance. Nothing more.
Which team would you like to coach in Spain?
I don't know. It'd be exciting to coach in Spain, but as long as it was with a team that could fight for something and progress. That's everything that a coach and a person wants for their career. At the moment I'm a technical director and I love it. I like to carry the group, the team. The only problem is that somebody could think "hey, there's a conflict here or it's this or something else..." No. That's over now. Today I think much more about what I can give than what I can get.
How do you see the battle for the global crown between Cristiano and Messi?
I don't think there is a battle. Cristiano and Messi give everybody something to marvel at. I look at Barcelona and I see a spectacular team, with a jewel (Messi) who is unique when he gets hold of the ball. And that's what everybody sees. You know that if you give it to Messi he's going to do something different to the rest, and you can't help smiling about that. And Cristiano to his credit always comes out to play, to look for the ball and do things with it. I love the fact he tries to find the opportunity to be better than Messi. The fact that he wants to fight for the hegemony with Messi is honourable. But nevertheless, right now Messi is two steps above Cristiano: for his speed and his definition. Cristiano has the advantage of his strike. But Messi, when he's in on goal, is fearsome; it's a goal for sure. And he also has a team that supports him. That's huge. I know it from my time at Napoli.
What do you think of the fact that Cristiano said that he's not happy at Madrid and he might not want to renew his contract?
It would be a blow for Real Madrid. If Barcelona have Messi, Madrid can't let Cristiano go. I don't know the circumstances, but I think it would give Barcelona a huge advantage.