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“I’m proud of the players, but I’m also proud of Real Madrid.”

Updated  

Jul-27 03:02 first published at 03:02 AM


Santiago Solari praised Vinicius Junior’s ability to “break down the door” and win over Real Madrid fans ahead of their pre-season friendly against his Club America side. When Julen Lopetegui was sacked as Real Madrid’s caretaker first team coach in October 2018, Solari was faced with the unenviable task of being the club’s caretaker first team coach in a post-World Cup year. The 45-year-old lasted less than five months, but Zinedine Zidane and Carlo Ancelotti arguably benefited from his integration of players like Vinicius and Federico Valverde, while pushing Isco and Marcelo to the wing. Vinicius was a particularly inconsistent case at first, before having a breakout season last season, culminating in his goal in the Champions League final in May. However, the now-Club America manager sought to shift the focus to the players themselves, as well as the structure and development environment Real Madrid provides to emerging talent. “There is a point of pride for the player where you think that if you had 0.5 or 1% of merit,” Solari told Marca. “However, as with Valverde, [Sergio] Reguilon, and Llorente, the great merit belongs to the club, its recruitment departments, and the facilities it provides to players.” Footballers also have a lot to be proud of. Vinicius is wonderful, very beautiful if there is a bit of me in what he has accomplished, in how he breaks down the door and wins people’s hearts.” The coach’s goal should not be to be right, but to work and do the best he can for an institution at the specific time when it is his turn. Real Madrid always finds a way. We have 14 Champions Leagues and are always on the lookout for the next one.” Solari praised Ancelotti ahead of their match, describing him as a man of “great” wisdom. “I would only listen to Ancelotti,” he said. “I don’t know him very well; I’ve probably greeted him once when I was in the youth ranks and he was in the first team.” I have a great deal of sympathy for him, and he is a wise man. I’d love to hear him speak.”

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