The Real Madrid teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo claims to know the plan to stop the Portuguese from scoring.
Published By: Dalipinder Singh Sandhu (Bliss)
The Spanish defender is ‘Mr. Utility’ for Real Madrid and has opened about his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo whom he faces in the opening tie for his country. In his recent interview with the Spanish news outlet MARCA, Nacho Fernandez discusses the upcoming World Cup and talks about his beloved club Real Madrid.
The 28-year-old defender is a proud young player who happens to be fortunate enough to represent his country in the biggest competition of football. Nacho talks about his special feeling of representing La Rojas.
“It’s a dream for any lad. When you’re young and you start to play football you watch the World Cup on television and you say I hope I can be there someday. I’m lucky enough to be here and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.”
Nacho Hernandez is a player who never was made for Real Madrid’s starting line up but he chose to stay and fight for his position, risking his selection for the national team. The gamble played out well in the favor of Spaniard who has saved Real Madrid in endless occasions with his ability to cover for any defensive position when there is a case of injury.
“I always saw it very clearly. The summer is always different, but my gambles were always clear: to bet on my boyhood club and the trust that every coach has given me. It’s my home. The last two years have been spectacular for me, I’ve had a great path in my career and thanks to that I’m in Russia now.”
On being asked from when did Nacho realized he is an integral part of the Spanish National team squad, the defender answered when he started to feel the trust of his coach, Julen Lopetegui.
“Over the last two years, I’ve been lucky enough to be in all of Julen [Lopetegui]’s squads, I feel I have his trust. Now I have to repay that trust.”
When confronted with the fact that his gamble of staying Madrid paid off with the success of 4 UEFA Champions League titles in 5 years, Nacho replied in a nostalgic way.
“You said it! Before we spoke about dreams when you’re a kid, one of them is lifting the Champions League trophy. To have four was unimaginable for me, I’m proud to form part of a team like Real Madrid in the best era of its history.”
Spain was on a high when they won 6-1 against Argentina but the mere 1-0 victory over Tunisia has raised several questions regarding the performance of the former World Champions side.
“There are highs and lows, you have to keep a line of stability. The feeling is very positive for how qualifying went, the friendlies… We come to the World Cup at the right time.”
Nacho admits he still is not sure if he will start any of the game for Spain but he will be ready for any responsibility the coach gives him.
“Honestly, I don’t know. I’m working to be there. The coach decides and I’ll try to give him a decision to make.”
In the UEFA Champions League Final, Dani Carvajal injured himself and was seen as a major doubt for the World Cup. Nacho admits it was difficult to see his club and national teammate out injured but it was his day to shine and do well.
“It was difficult, especially when the injury is for a friend as well as a team-mate, as is the case. That said, it was my first final, it was my day, I had to take advantage and it went well.”
Spain has ruled the world of football with 2 back to back Euro titles and one World Cup in between that. A domination from 2008 to 2012 with 3 major titles. Nacho believes this has mounted the pressure on the current side.
“We come from a generation which has made it quite difficult for us by winning European Championships and World Cups. We’re proud of the past, but it has left us a difficult legacy. We are Spain, we have great potential and the objective is to go as far as possible.”
The Spanish defender starts against his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in the opening fixture for Spain. Nacho believes it will be a well-balanced match against the reigning European champions.
“It’s not a bad start! We start against the best player. And a national team that are European champions, with very capable players as well as Cristiano. He will make us play very well, very focused.”
Nacho further talks about Cristiano Ronaldo whom he believes is one of the most hardworking players.
“He’s a worker, he’s got to where he is now by working day by day. He trains as much at home as at the training ground.”
Nacho reveals how a defeat affects Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, a born winner, like the club he’s at. Defeat hurts us all, him even more so.”
Nacho also reveals the plan to stop Cristiano Ronaldo though it is not really a concrete plan. If it was then he wouldn’t have scored these many goals in his career and Nacho recognizes it.
“It’s better to have him on your side. Coaching against him is not the same as for a game, but it’s not enough to see it’s better to have him on your team. All of the defenses have to be very focused against this kind of player. Cristiano doesn’t play in just one position up-front either, he moves in a number of areas. The concentration has to be maximum.”
Nacho reveals that Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t a set striker or winger but a player who can adapt to any game plan and can play in any posititon.
“It’s not normal how many goals he scores. He scored loads on the wing, like a number nine. He’s a born goalscorer but can play on the wing, play behind another striker. He can play where he wants.”
Nacho admits that Cristiano Ronaldo and the other Spanish players who share the same dressing room for Real Madrid have talked to each other about the tie and have had a banter.
“Of course, he knows that we have a great team, we’ve had the normal banter, everyone defends their country.”
Nacho also recognizes other potential threats for Spain in the Portuguese side which has improved immensely since the 2014 World Cup.
“Yes, of course, they have important and able players, of the highest standard.”
Zinedine Zidane, the head coach of Real Madrid had resigned a few days ago and the club is in search of a new manager. Though Nacho believes the club matters are secondary for the players right now due to the national duty.
“Not at all. We’re focused on the national team. It’s a decision for the club, we try to keep ourselves on the sidelines, but now everything gets to you. We know what’s being said, like everyone, but we’re calm, what will happen will happen and we’ll support them.”
Nacho admits that life has been tough since Zidane left because it came after massive accomplishment and success. Such news was not anticipated by anyone but Nacho believes football is such and the decision of Zidane shall be respected.
“The first few days have been hard. We received the news suddenly, a bit before it was announced. We’ve been through the best few years with Real Madrid, he gave his all for the players. No-one can hold anything against him, whether they played or not. We were all very happy, but this is football and there are always comings and goings. We have to turn the page, keep going and wish him all the luck in the world and support his decision.”
Nacho will now prepare for the opening match between Spain and Portugal, the side led by the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The kick-off will take place at 7:00 PM CET on 15th June 2018.
The FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia will be commenced on 14th June 2018 at 4:00 PM CET.