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Morientes: In Spain they don't value local players

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As someone who played for Real Madrid in another era when they won three Champions Leagues in quick succession, and alongside current Los Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane to boot, Fernando Morientes is qualified to have given an opinion on a number of current issues.

He addressed comparisons with Alvaro Morata and why Spanish football club supporters don't necessarily value their homegrown talent, and the former striker also suggested his old club didn't have the need to sign Kylian Mbappe in the summer.

What's your opinion on the Mbappe transfer and PSG's chances in the Champions League?

"PSG are now one of the favourites to win the Champions League, however, in order to reach the level of the current Real Madrid side, you need to not only buy good players but you have to be able to also get them playing as a team. But definitely they [PSG] are one of the main candidates.
"Kylian [Mbappe] now has the opportunity to keep on improving his level and demonstrate that he can eventually play for Real Madrid. To play there you have to be really one of the top players around, and they always have so many teams that they can sign for.
"In the end, Real, having had a great season last year, decided that this year they were not in need of hiring too many players."

How do Real Madrid's current team compare to the Galacticos?

"Everybody will consider the present team as the best in history but in my opinion you cannot compare. They are two different teams at two different times. In ten years there might be another team who people might consider the best.
"Real had one of the best [seasons] in their history [last year] so bringing new players in would mean having to let go of players like Asensio, Isco and Vazquez. It is extremely rare to find someone as talented as Asensio, it happens maybe once in a decade.
"There is a huge expectation on the player's shoulders but I'm convinced he has the talent and he will fulfil his expectations. They [Real] have done the right thing in keeping the team they had from the previous season."

 

 

What do you think about the comparisons with yourself and Alvaro Morata?

"Sometimes in Spain they don't value the local players as much as they should. There are parallels with my history in Spain and Morata's. He is a great player and wherever he will go, he will be fantastic, just like at Juventus and as he is now at Chelsea.
"In Madrid, because they are the best team in the world, the pressure you have playing in such a team is always very high. When you've been there for two, three or four years, there is always the issue of new players coming, and for that to happen, someone has to leave. It happens more in Madrid than at other clubs.
"The main difference between the Spaniards and the other players is the quality and the talent. That's why Spanish players are always in demand in other leagues - they base their game on their talent and not the physical attributes."

Are you surprised by Zinedine Zidane's success as a coach?

"I'm not surprised by Zidane's success because of his composition and the quality of the players he has. The secret to that success has been the use of common sense from Zidane's side, applied to the team he has.
"The fact the players respect him and treat him more as a companion than a coach is probably what makes the difference and allows for this great level of performance."

Can Liverpool fulfil their ambitions?

"I always try to follow Liverpool because of my past. They've made a big effort to get back to being one of the best teams in the Premier League but they still need a small push to become Champions of Europe."

Why is the FIFA Club World Cup important for players and clubs?

"The FIFA Club World Cup is one of the biggest sport events in the world and it gives Abu Dhabi the opportunity to show the world their capacity to host such an event. It is of course a challenge, but at the same time it is a great opportunity to open up the UAE and Abu Dhabi to the world.
"Such an event always has plenty of scouting taking place. It gives the players, especially in the local teams, a chance for everybody to see them. It opens the window for them to eventually play in Europe which will be the best opportunity for them. Playing in the FIFA Club World Cup... if you win it you are the best team in the world. That's the highest prize you can get.
"For Europeans or Spaniards, winning the UEFA Champions League is the most important thing that you have. But having the chance to play against the South American teams, having the chance to play against the Asian teams or from other places makes the FIFA Club World Cup very special."

How important is it for La Liga to be opening an academy in the UAE?

"Opening a LaLiga Academy in the UAE is a fantastic achievement and is one of the main objectives of LaLiga in order to market themselves abroad in such areas as the UAE.
"It's also great to get closer to the kids and help them improve, to train them to LaLiga standards."

Marca

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