clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

David Aznar: “Curiously, when we began to win [again], stabilize, and get players back, the club made the decision [to sack me].”

Real Madrid’s ex-coach sat down for a lengthy interview with El Patio. Here are the highlights of what he said.

Ex-Real Madrid coach David Aznar did a thirty-minute interview with Spanish women’s football channel El Patio, discussing everything from his most joyful moments to the criticism he faced over his tenure.

Below are some of the more noteworthy things he said, but be sure to watch the full video to get all the details.

On the players Aznar admired

  • Aznar listed out the footballers that stood out to him in each of his four seasons with CD Tacón/Real Madrid. In 2018/19, when Tacón were in the second division, he selected Malena Ortíz. He picked Aurélie Kaci, Maite Oroz, and Claudia Zornoza for each respective campaign that followed.
  • Aznar also strongly asserted that Zornoza was one of the most underrated midfielders in the country and that it was a shame that she didn’t make the national team.

His best moments

  • “Achieving promotion, getting second place in the league [in 20/21], and beating Manchester City in the Champions League Qualifiers [in 21/22].”

His most difficult moments

  • “The 9-1 loss to Barcelona in Tacón’s first match in Primera Iberdrola.”
  • “In the entirety of the second division we only conceded nine goals. Against Barca on the first day, we conceded nine goals.”
  • Aznar laughed about how this match was marketed as a “Clásico,” when, in reality, it wasn’t. “Ten players were debuting in the league and Madrid used some very young players.” Because of how the media hyped the match, he said that Barca were hyper-motivated to win.
  • He exclaimed that the team’s first season in the top flight was the most difficult of his career. He had twelve players who fought for promotion mixed with international-class players. “In preseason, the key members of Tacón were taking selfies with the international players.”

On dealing with criticism

  • “Criticism is just the reality of being at Madrid. Ancelotti is being criticized. Zidane was criticized when we won three Champions Leagues. Sometimes it is true that you feel that we have not been given proper credit for everything that we achieved in such a short time. There is a lot of merit to what we did and how quickly we did it.”
  • “I received a lot of private messages [from coaches] in difficult moments that valued what I had accomplished with the team.”
  • “When we completed the first half of the season [in 20/21] — and I’m not going to say what media outlet published this — we were third. We were in the Champions League positions. I thought the headline would say: “Real Madrid finishes the first half of the season in the Champions League, wow!” No, the article said: “Real Madrid incapable of beating the greats,” because we had lost to Barca, Atlético, and Real Sociedad over that stretch. I said, “seriously?”’
  • “People questioned my lineups after the match, which is easy because you can decide your opinion after you see the result. We went to Paris (referring to the first match vs. PSG in the Champions League) and I received a lot of criticism for being conservative. It’s difficult. You’ll have ideas with a particular lineup prior to the match but the result give reasons [to criticize] and foments criticism.”

Whether the rumored letter asking for his resignation existed

  • “There was a reported letter asking for my resignation, but I never saw that letter. I don’t know with what intention the press had in releasing it, but in the locker room it generated the opposite [of what they might have wanted]. In the end, I received a lot of support from the dressing room and they were fully engaged until the end.”

On the club’s decision to sack him

  • “We suffered a lot from the injuries we had in September and October. The schedule was super difficult in the beginning. We played City and, right afterwards, faced the top five from last season. Curiously, when we began to win [again], stabilize, and get players back, the club made the decision to [sack me]. The encounter vs. Villarreal (December 4th; Aznar was sacked following the last game) was the first match where Madrid had a full squad.”

His impressions when joining Tacón and coaching in women’s football for the first time

  • Tacón is the favorite team he’s coached and he said that it was filled with great human beings.
  • Aznar highlighted the exponential growth in women’s football at a tactical level and noted that there are many good coaching staffs in the league.

Will Aznar return as a coach soon?

  • “I hope so. I am prepared. My phone is fully charged. I want to continue in women’s football.”

Miscellaneous:

  • When asked to define Real Madrid in one word, Aznar offered several, such as “grandeza” and “the best club in the world.” For the women’s team, specifically, he settled on the iconic line: “historia por hacer.”
  • In his concluding remarks, he stated that footballers, coaches, and sporting directors are all people and that sometimes we forget this in our passion for the game.