Hugo Sanchez is a big name in the football world, and he’s forever written in Real Madrid folklore. Now living in San Diego and working in Mexico City, he has been spending time in Madrid on holiday.
Taking advantage of his time in Spain, Marca reporters sat down with the Mexican for an interview. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
How do you see Real Madrid from Mexico?
“We follow the club a lot. My country were all Real Madrid fans years ago and, by extension, a huge part of the American continent were. Then Rafa Marquez arrived at Barcelona and things balanced out a bit. But in the Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi era it’s become 60-40 to Real Madrid.”
And what do you think of the club right now?
“I’m angry that they haven’t forced themselves more in Spain. Their greatness isn’t reaffirmed in LaLiga Santander. In my time the league was much more important than the European Cup. We focused on the league, while the European Cup depended on the draw.”
Who, Ronaldo and Messi aside, is the best pure centre-forward around?
“There are fewer and fewer No. 9s. Most recently I loved Didier Drogba. He fought, battled and scored.”
But from now… If Florentino Perez asked your advice for a No.9 for Real Madrid…
“I’m of the opinion that Real Madrid should have two teams and two strong No.9s. I’ve noticed Harry Kane for a long time.”
But he’d cost more than 150 million euros.
“I’d sign him, even for 200 million euros. Ronaldo also cost a lot and look what he gave the club. But knowing Florentino Perez, with his magic he surely has something in his head to do something, but I know the remodeling of the stadium will take money out of the budget.”
Is Karim Benzema a No.9?
“Since Ronaldo left, he’s fulfilled that role, but he’s missing an Emilio Butragueno, which I had.”
And Luka Jovic? He hasn’t had many chances.
“I don’t think he’s a bad player for the future, but Real Madrid need the best strikers for today. I think Kane is that.”
Real Madrid went two consecutive games without a goal against Barcelona and Valencia.
“The most difficult thing to do in football is score. You spend 300 million euros on six or seven players, but none guarantee goals. That’s why I’d spend 200 million euros on a No.9 like Kane. Nothing guarantees titles like goals.”
Do you prefer Kane to Kylian Mbappe?
“They’re two different players. Kane is a natural replacement for Ronaldo, but Mbappe and Neymar are different top players.”
Speaking of goals, Vinicius causes problems for defences, but doesn’t score. What would you do with him?
“First, you have to see if he likes goals. He’s skilled, agile, has a spark and brings joy, but you have to see if he’s loved scoring goals since childhood. Maybe it’s something that he doesn’t lose sleep over. Beware of that!”
What do you mean?
“I think he might be a little scared, maybe he doesn’t like that responsibility. The same maybe happened to Benzema with Ronaldo, but look now. Rodrygo shows more personality in front of goal than Vinicius.”
But is it teachable?
“After each session as a coach I stayed with my strikers for an extra hour to practice finishing. I think Vinicius needs that. And yes, you can learn it, particularly because he has talent. But you need repetition to reach perfection.”
Real Madrid haven’t scored a freekick for a year. Is that odd?
“I’d like to know how many players stay behind working on them. Messi, for sure, stays behind. He’s improved a lot.”