In Guti interview with MARCA, he explains that his ultimate target is to move back to the club that he served as a player for more than 20 years, he also gave a precise deference between Ronaldo and Messi.
Cristiano or Messi?
Both. It is true that I recently tweeted that I chose Messi, but I value highly what Cristiano has done. He is a great player. Messi has more talent, Cristiano is more of a goalscorer, more ambition, he is a self-made player. It is incredible that in the era of Messi, he has been able to win five Ballon d’Or. He has been massively important, as he showed at Real Madrid.
Did you think Real Madrid would miss Ronaldo so much?
He has been an important factor, above all for his goalscoring productivity. Especially in big games. Real Madrid have missed Ronaldo.
How are you doing as a Besiktas assistant coach?
Well, it’s one more experience. I am happy to have taken this step and to continue evolving in my career as a coach. It helps me to continue growing as a coach, which is what I want to be. It is true that the season is not easy or simple, nor is it going as we wanted, but I am happy.
Is being the head of a youth team much different to being the assistant coach of an elite team like Besiktas?
Yes, it is. When you are in the youth team you logically want to win, but what you are focused on is your players being developed as footballers. You want them to become professionals, but here they already are. I knew that an important club was coming. Despite the gap with Real Madrid, [Besiktas] are a club that here in Turkey challenge for all the titles. I knew it was going to be complicated if things did not go well. Competing in the Turkish League, with the players there are here, is not going to be easy. The experience is quite good and I am happy at Besiktas.
You knew the Turkish League, the passion with which they live football in Turkey, you knew Besiktas, nothing surprised you, right?
I knew how demanding it would be and that was also a factor that encouraged me to come here.
Masters, postgraduate, internship … how would you rate it?
It is a masters for several reasons. I jumped from youth to professional football. I came to a country different from Spain and although I knew it, everything is different. I’m in a team that did not know me, which is more complicated and also the language. They’ve been working for a long time and I’ve just arrived. All that makes it look like a master, but it’s been very nice for me. I’m setting my mind and preparing for everything I have to do for when I’m a head coach.
And overcoming complicated moments because the environment has not been ideal.
It has not been a smooth season in terms of results and football. Neither at the club level. It’s been a hard year, but I’m not complaining. When I came in 2010 I checked how they worked and I knew it would be the same. I’m not complaining because I’m doing what I wanted and also in a club as important as Besiktas.
Now that the time of working with kids is up and that you already have contact with professional football players, is it being a player so different from being a coach?
Yes, it is different. When you are a player, you care about yourself, your state, how you train, whether the coach selects you or not. Now you feel that you have to worry whether the 24 or 25 players are doing well and they are at their best. You know that everyone has their personality, their different way of playing, they come from different countries, from other cultures and all that is complicated. You have to know how to take it and that is why it is very important to surround yourself with good people in your coaching staff. A coach carries all the weight of a season and it is complicated.
Is the player more wrong than he believes?
We were all wrong. What is certain is that they are the ones who go out to the pitch. They are the ones that make the team go well or go bad. In this sense, they have that great responsibility that in the end is also attributed to the coach. If the results go bad, in the end the coach is the first to fall. The responsibility and mistakes at the end belong to everyone.
Now that you are on the other side, what would you not have done as a player?
I don’t know because you see everything from a very different point of view. A player can never put himself in the shoes of a coach. He can’t live what a coach suffers or enjoys. Putting yourself in the shoes of a coach is very complicated. When you finish your career and you pass to the other side, it is when you realise the importance of a coach for a club and for a team.
As a coach it is very difficult to do the Riazor back-heel or something so good as that one, right?
Impossible. You can make your team resemble a bit what you liked. It can be achieved. It is true that you must have players that resemble a little your way of understanding football. In my youth coaching stage, when I saw my team play well and doing something similar to what I wanted, I enjoyed it a lot.
When did you realise that you wanted to be a coach?
When I was the head coach of the Real Madrid youth team. When I was the assistant coach, I had a bad time, because what I like is making decisions and being assistant is more than complicated.
Now that you are in the elite as a coach, after having been there for many years as a player, do you remember those years when you started playing football as a child and the sacrifice of your parents and your family?
Thank God it has been worth it. Even if I had not reached the elite, I think it would have been worth it too. In the Madrid academy we lived very beautiful and special moments. When you get to the elite, everything is different, you get immense joy. You can live on what you like. You also reach that moment in which all the people, all the family that has been helping you in difficult moments, get their reward and their time to enjoy it.
You have always had your parents in mind at all times, since you reached the elite.
I thank my parents very much for all they have done for me. I gave them back what they gave me and they gave me a lot of love and they have always taken care of me since I was young. In my house they went through difficult days financially. I knew it, but they were always by my side, with a smile to help me. Luckily, as soon as I could, I returned all that love. I felt in debt to them because they had given me everything. They had had a bad time and what I wanted was that they would enjoy life. I did it with all the pleasure and I am happy. It is something that will always come with me. I got my parents to have a better life.
What values do you transmit to your children?
My children support me. They know the difficulties of being a coach. It’s a difficult job, difficult because you never know where or for how long you can be in a team. And all this is hard especially when you have older children, who are already settled in a specific place. I see them less, but the love is there. I always want to see them.
And a small six-year-old who almost speaks Turkish already.
He is here with us and the truth is that he speaks more Turkish than the father.
How is living in Istanbul?
It is really nice living here. We live in a quiet area, with the school next door, the training camp nearby and we can’t complain. It is a city to come, know and enjoy it to the fullest. It is spectacular.
Are you going to the Grand Bazaar or to Hagia Sophia?
With a cap, with glasses and I try not to show the tattoos because that is how they recognize me more easily [laughs]. The people are very lovely and respect you very much.
And when the team lose?
They are very passionate for everything, both when you win and when you lose. It is something similar to the Bernabeu. It is a fan base that likes to win and that is good for the player, as it motivates him and he knows that he has to always give his best.
First a player, now an assistant coach at Besiktas…
I already said it when I left Real Madrid. I needed to grow and I want to be the head coach and that is my goal for next season. Where? I do not know. I’m happy here, but you never know what’s going to happen.
You talked about the Bernabeu fans, what a season of suffering, right?
As a Madridista I have lived it like them. It is a complicated season, after some wonderful years we have lived in Europe. These are cycles and they have to happen. I think there have been players and others within the club who have said it very clearly and it is something that could happen. I didn’t know if it would be this season or the next. It has happened this year and now we must try to be calm and look for the best solutions.
You have experienced similar situations as a player.
Real Madrid always comes back. You have to touch certain things. I do not know if you have to motivate the players or if they have to give you a bit more competitive squad for the next season, to fight for everything again. It is clear that Real Madrid know that they have to change certain things and I’m sure they will. All players want to go to Real Madrid and I don’t think they have many problems. Real Madrid have to sign players and we will see what they ask for.
But the market has gone crazy.
It is crazy. I don’t know until what point it will reach. Not only for transfers but also for salaries. If it is being paid it is because it is being generated, this is for sure.
For everything that has happened this season, do you think that you could have been named the coach of Real Madrid?
It is obvious that I would have had more of a chance if I was still there but I do not like to look back. It is worthless. Now, I am happy to have made the decision to come here. It has been very good for me to know what it is like to be a coach in professional football and keep growing.
Did you expect to see Zidane in the dugout once again?
It surprised me, but it is clear that Zidane has done things very well at Real Madrid and the team was in a delicate situation. The friendship between Florentino (Perez) and Zidane also helped. If it is for the good of Real Madrid, all of us Madridistas are happy with his return.
Is a major overhaul necessary?
The raw materials are there. Real Madrid are still the current European champions. It is true that, the market being as it is, you cannot makes so many signings. There is time to think about what they need, what they have and decide which players they want to keep.
Many Madrid fans say that, one day, Guti will be the coach of Real Madrid. Does that remain your aspiration?
For sure. I have always said it. (To be on) the bench of Real Madrid is the maximum, as it was as a player. To be there one day would be really significant. I know that I must achieve plenty to be there but it also took a great effort to be there as a player. I am not scared of that. The only thing I want is to have an opportunity to do things well and for my work to be known and to keep growing.
They already know what Guti the coach is like, no?
For now, I am happy with the steps that I have taken. Now I have the final one, which for me is to be the head coach of a professional team. I am waiting for this, excited, with great enthusiasm and I hope it will happen this summer.
How would you like that team to play?
That you get a glimpse of what I was as a player. It is true that in many moments you will not be able to play that way, that I will have to adapt to the players I have. If it was what I would like, I know that I would love to see something similar to how I moved on the pitch. If not, I will have to adjust. The big coaches do it. My goal is to be a head coach. I do not speak about Real Madrid or any big club, because it is something distant and complicated. You must have a name to be able to make the step up.
But Guti is a big name.
Many still remember Guti the player, but that was over when I hung up my boots. Now I am a different person. I am still Guti but now I have a totally different life and I hope that someone gives me the opportunity to be a head coach.
Was that step difficult?
Yes, very. I have always liked to make decisions and when you cannot make them… I remembered that I had to go through this spell of being a no.2, train kids, developing myself.
Does your message transmit to the players?
Yes, yes it does transmit. I treat them in the same way that I would have liked to have been treated by certain coaches. I make them see what is the best for them and the team.
What is the limit of a coach?
The best coach is the one who, in tough moments, makes the team well and, in the good times, is the one who distances himself a bit and truly allows the players to receive the plaudits.
How can you manage a group of 24 when only 11 can play?
The players know it. It is true that some will feel better or worse. The players know that these decisions have to be made. There must be a backroom team which shares with you this ability to talk to the players. The coach cannot be the one who is always with them. It is tiring.
No one doubts your affinity to Real Madrid when you rejected offers from other teams or when other players arrived to take your place.
Everything that I had to suffer as a player is what is making me think what I can be as a coach. I believe in myself a lot and I believe that I can do things well. It will be very tough because people have in their minds Guti the player and not Guti the coach, and it’s already been six years (since he was a player). It will go well, for sure. Who knows whether we will see each other in another interview and in another team.
I like this idea that you will always be Guti.
Yes, I will always be (Guti). I tell everyone to call me Jose because I like it, but I have nothing against Guti and that’s why I will always be Guti. Also Jose (laughs).