Former Real Madrid Steve McManaman, who was one of the heroes of Real Madrid’s eighth Champions League title which was won in Paris in 2000 vs Valencia, spoke to Marca about his goal that night, who wins tonight’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, and a lot more. Here are the most relevant quotes.
On his ties with both Liverpool and Real Madrid
“I don’t think there is great pressure only on Madrid. Of course, the players put pressure on themselves and the fans put pressure on them to win. They are two teams that are used to winning trophies. Yesterday I spoke with Ancelotti and he told me that at Madrid they believe that every year they are going to win something and that when they reach a final they think they are going to win it. It’s a winning mindset. For Liverpool, after losing the Premier League, there is a risk that the season ends disappointingly.”
On his goal in the 2000 Champions League final
“People keep talking about my goal. I was recently in Madrid doing press stuff and it turns out that it was the anniversary of that game 22 years ago. People were constantly talking to me about it. You remember. Of course the real fans of Madrid remember the European finals. Scoring the goal was incredible, but the important thing was that it gave us a 2-0 lead. It was a goal that allowed us to relax and enjoy the football game. You don’t often have the pleasure of being able to enjoy the last 20 minutes of a European final. We really enjoyed those moments. Also, it was important to me on a personal level because my whole family was there and my mother had passed away a year before, so it was nice to dedicate it to them.”
Is he still in touch with his former Real Madrid teammates?
“I keep in touch with all of them, we have a WhatsApp group. I keep seeing them at veterans games. Yesterday I saw Roberto Carlos, for example. That experience definitely changed me as a person, I had to learn a new language and a new culture. I love Spain as a country. It was different for me when I arrived because I grew up in Liverpool and I didn’t get to travel a lot, so when you move to a new country you have to grow as a person. It certainly changed me and helped me grow.
As a player, my football changed because I think I played in four or five different positions. When I went to Real Madrid it was a step forward, because I ended up playing with better players in a better competition, against the best in Europe and the world. That forces you to work harder and become a better footballer.”
Who will he support in the final?
“It is difficult. I work a lot with Liverpool and with the academy. I want the best man to win. I love both teams, I have many friends in both and I hope they all do well. It’s very difficult for me, but if I had to give an answer I would probably have to say Liverpool. Simply because I have a greater affiliation with the club now, but both teams are fantastic.”
On Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Vinicius Jr
“It is probably one of the best battles on the field. It is certainly an area that Real Madrid can try to exploit because Trent likes to go a lot up the pitch, which sometimes le
aves space behind. It’s something that Trent will have to take into account and Liverpool have to be aware of Vini’s threat on that side of the pitch.”