There’s no doubt that ‘Guti Haz’ deserves every word of praise spoken about him in the last few days following Real’s cup final derby win over rivals Atlético in the Copa del Rey.
Rightly lauded for his part in leading the Juvenil A side to a convincing victory at the weekend, Guti also deserves some acknowledgment for his achievements in the coaching world. Getting there hasn’t been easy.
Guti has had a high profile and at times, controversial career.
Here is a man who played for two whole years in Real’s first team while on anti-depressants and is so popular that he still has a huge following at his former club Beşiktaş.
Guti spent the last season becoming totally immersed in the older sections of Real’s youth team set-up; transitioning from taking the younger age groups to stepping up to the under-19s last summer.
It has been a progressive journey; but one that he seems to be thoroughly enjoying.
Guti is now treading a familiar path. From being a top-class player to becoming a top-class coach can be difficult; but it’s not suitable for everyone.
There are qualifications to be gained, certifications to be had, and a lot of studying is involved. The latter is the bit that tends to put prospective coaches off as their playing careers draw to a close.
There’s a huge commitment required; and if you do manage to qualify, pass all your exams and gain all your certificates, once you actually get a job then the hours are long and often anti-social.
It has to be said that in a practical sense, the main requirements lie in having the ability to actually be capable of coaching professional footballers in the first place; and in getting the best out of the players as a result.
Guti certainly doesn’t have any problems with the former; and there are similarities to that of Zinedine Zidane’s early days in coaching; with both successfully making the change from being top-class players to working on the other side of the fence.
Now in positions where their undoubted skill and experience are invaluable to those eager to learn more about the game, there’s no doubt that the respect from the players is there. In Zidane’s case, sometimes it even looks as though some of the current first team squad are in awe of him.
Where the canteras are concerned, Guti’s not too far behind.
Like Zidane’s sessions with the first team, the youngsters will work hard but it will be enjoyable. Players respect people like these and with his playing background and ability he’ll not be too long in rising through the ranks of the technical staff.
Guti says that although his ambition is to be first team coach at the Bernabéu one day, for the time being his attentions are focused on the cantera.
Zidane certainly isn’t the type to see him as a threat to his own position in the longer term. There’s such a sense of togetherness and belonging at Real Madrid that it must be one of the few clubs in the world where a coach from one of the under-age teams can openly state his ambitions to one day take over at the top!
At many institutions, someone making a statement to that effect would be committing professional suicide by admitting as much in public.
However, the situation at Real Madrid isn’t like anywhere else. With so many former Madrid players involved in different roles at the club - i.e. Raúl et al., the respect to their colleagues which carries over from their playing days is always foremost.
Several of the current first team squad will know Guti well; and will share in his success.
No doubt he’ll also have shared in the success that Real as a club have had in the past few months; and will be hoping that success continues throughout the whole football club in the season to come.