Juande Ramos came to Real Madrid riding a tempestous stint in Tottenham where he inherited a relegation-bound Premier League team. The Hotspurs were in turmoil, but Juande's philosophy lifted the team to a mid-table finish, and in 2007, Juande led Tottenham to their first trophy since 1999, defeating Chelsea in the cup final.
Unfortunately, Tottenham spiraled the following season, and Juande - along with his entire coaching staff - was sacked by October.
Ultimately, it was timely for Real Madrid to bring the former Sevilla ace in, as they needed a manager to replace Bernd Schuster - the man who publicly submitted himself to a 'superior Barca' - by Winter break.
In hindsight, it was the toughest moment for any manager to come in to the club. Real Madrid was half-way through a torturous tradition of axing managers prematurely - a tradition that started at the turn of the century and has already seen 12 managerial changes.
It was a season where Real Madrid was in a dark age - one that was stripped of talent. Robinho was sold in the off-season, virtually eliminating any flair the team had. Arjen Robben technically was supposed to be the star of the team, but was injured more than he was on the pitch, rendering the team toothless in attack in big games. For chunks of the season, Real Madrid were riding a central midfield duo of Fernando Gago and Lassana Diarra - a combo that disastrously blew up in their face in a 4-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield to knock them out of the Champions League.
To add to the misery, Real Madrid were going up against Guardiola's machine which was about to enter its prime.
When I asked Juande about what it was like to be thrown into this situation, he admitted it wasn't easy.
"The reality is that Barça of the 6 titles, Barça 2009, was infinitely superior to Real Madrid. We had to make a tremendous effort to compete with them as I said before, but the truth is that their level was much higher than Real Madrid"
Full Q & A is below.
Juande: The truth is that this season Real Madrid is getting better results than what its game reflects. They were at the top of the standings winning matches with many difficulties, but in recent matches against PSG and Sevilla they have suffered a lot, even too much.
With respect to the strengths and weaknesses of the team, I think it is the coach himself who has to comment. I do not think I am in a position to comment on what happens at Real Madrid.