|La Liga Ambassador|
|Desc||Arriving after Michael Owen moved to Real Madrid in 2005, Fernando Morientes didn’t quite fill the goal scoring boots of the departed striker. After an underwhelming debut against rivals United, the Spanish striker’s patchy league form continued until he scored a five-minute brace against Middlesbrough. Though he was on the 2005 UEFA Super Cup winning side, Morientes totalled just twelve goals in 60 Liverpool appearances. The stopgap striker returned to sunny Spain with Valencia in 2006|
|Org||Spain National Team|
|Club as Player||Valencia FC|
2017 03 23 Retrieve
[Fernando Morientes says Passion makes La Liga the best league in the world] Football of course is much more than what we see on the television, there is much more work done behind the scenes. If you want to improve the local teams, you have start from the grassroots and start slowly. So maybe you need a good manager and a good project rather than sending the Asian players to play in Europe
[A legend in his own right, Morientes did share the dressing room with superstars such as Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, David Beckham, Ronaldo, and Raul Gonzalez during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu. So, what was it like sharing the dressing room with these guys?] Very normal, at least for me. Maybe you think because of the social media that they are very different but in person and in reality, they are just like you and me
There are some things you can’t buy and passion is one of them. When you see this big space (he points to the empty green field below the terrace where we are seated), it is very strange for me as a Spanish person because if it were Spain, this ground would be full of children playing football. If you do something every day, you are naturally going to be good at it and you put a lot of passion in it which probably explains why La Liga is so good.
As you can understand, weather is a very important element for any player. That’s a major difference between playing in France, Spain, and England because the weather is very different in each of these countries. Also, passion of the people in these countries are very different. Of course, you end up playing with players of certain level who are top class anyway, so the major difference is in the passion, culture, and people of the country that you play in,
[The game however has changed since his retirement and so has the role of the striker with the likes of Carlos Bacca in AC Milan regularly criticized for not providing much in terms of creativity despite having an excellent conversation rate. The former Spain international however begs to differ] Number nine has always been very important in any club because he is the one who scores the goal. At the end of the day, goals are the reason we play the game so it has always been important and the role of the striker will never change
2017 06 02 Retrieve
[Morientes not surprised by Zidane success as Real Madrid eye greatness] It is not a surprise for me because he is a good manager. He won La Liga and the Champions League last year. He also did very good work in Castilla. The most important thing is that he has very good players. That is the most important thing. It is no surprise. He was a footballer, he knows Madrid and the club very well and all the players. He has a strong mentality and is very calm. At Madrid, it is easier than another team [because of the quality]
When you are coach of Madrid, you are always under pressure. People now speak of Zidane as a very good manager. But in the future, when he has five, 10 years of more training, we will see the best of Zidane.
To win the title two times in a row is very difficult. They would be the first ones in history. At Madrid, they have always had very good teams. The Galacticos, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, [Luis] Figo, all those players. But in this moment, Madrid have an excellent team
Are they the best in history? It is very difficult but they have a very strong team. Madrid always have very good teams. If they won this Champions League, they would be in the best position of history. They are now legends. But if they won the title, we will always remember this team for Spanish and European football
2018 06 26 Retrieve
[Morientes looking for Blancos to land La Liga title] Now Real Madrid’s challenge will be to win the league. Because it has been too easy to win the Champions League! I know from my experience with Real Madrid that everyone demands you to win every title. And if you don’t win whatever cup is at stake, then you will be criticised a lot. If you only win the Champions League, then people will say it is not enough. It is very difficult.
[Morientes said when quizzed on how La Roja have been affected by an untimely change in the dugout] Footballers are professionals. These things can happen. In the first week, everything was like, ‘Oh what happened?’ but then you need to work hard and concentrate.
The new coach is Fernando Hierro and he is maybe not the same as Lopetegui because Lopetegui has done a good job for Spain in qualification. It is not a big problem for the players. In the end, you need to concentrate on your work. The philosophy remains the same.”
Maybe it could have been managed in a different way. But also, there are many things at stake. Real Madrid needed a coach and they decided it was Lopetegui. They could have maybe held the news for until the end of the World Cup but then if Spain does not do well at the World Cup, it would have been bad for Real Madrid. It [this situation] has no easy answer
[Morientes, who won 47 senior caps during his career, said on the calls for change] We need to improve the level of the defence. But Sergio Ramos and [Gerard] Pique are the best, they are untouchables. The whole team need to defend
[He added on the criticism aimed at Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea on the back of some costly mistakes] It is very difficult to be a goalkeeper of a national team. When you make a mistake, everyone is in front of you. It is not easy to be a successor of Iker Casillas. De Gea is a very good goalkeeper but they need confidence.
2018 06 27 Retrieve
[Real Madrid and Spain legend Fernando Morientes advises India to train their coaches] It is a mix of culture. We have a really old football culture. It is important to work hard at the grassroots level. We understand that football is not only about winning. We have to win by playing good football. It is the academies where you need to work
Indian players going out on loan is not relevant. What’s important is to train your trainer. The base for Spanish success is that we have a great pool of coaches. That is where you should invest. Then the players will be ready to play anywhere
2018 07 18 Retrieve
[Fernando Morientes believes that Cristiano Ronaldo has left a bigger legacy than club legend Alfredo Di Stefano at the Santiago Bernabeu] I think that in the years that have passed Ronaldo has achieved everything that can be achieved at a club like Real Madrid. And I think that he will have thought it is time for a new challenge. That together with other things that we do not know about or that we can only speculate about… The relationship he has with the president of the club, what they have been talking about in private, it has made him think that they need a new challenge, a new team
Each club has its own way of understanding football. He has gone to a very big team and to a country totally different than Spain. Italy was the benchmark about 20 years ago, the greatest league around. The level has decreased somewhat since then and Serie A is trying to reach the level from before again. For me, La Liga has now become the point of reference. I think Cristiano does not have to prove anything
He has proven everything, even if it is true that when you go to a club like Juventus, which pays so much money for you, you will want to do well, become a reference and fight for the Scudetto as well as the Champions League, in which he will want to play a big role
2019 02 08 Retrieve
[Former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes believes young winger Vinicius Junior can develop into a world-class player] We were all keen to see Vinicius play, to see how he develops. I think he’s a very impressive player, he’s very good in one-on-ones and making runs. He’s still very young, we need time to see the kind of player he will be but if he continues to play the way he is now he’ll be a world-class player, no doubt. We should give him time though, you can’t burden such a young player with too much responsibility especially at a club like Real Madrid
[Morientes says Vinicius reminds him of Savio] Obviously Savio was a little older but they have similar traits; daring, pace on the ball and one-on-one ability. And they’re both Brazilians, of course. Both came from a very different football style in Brazil, but they adapted quickly. So I’d say Vinicius reminds me of Savio, for their playing style and their position out on the left
[Morientes used to play with Solari at Santiago Bernabeu and has huge admiration for how the Argentine used to conduct himself] Solari was a great team-mate. A very nice, friendly guy. He liked to joke around. But he was also a very hard worker, a top professional, the kind of guy you always want in your team both when he’s playing and when he’s not. He always contributed, and not just on the pitch. A great player and a great team-mate, both on and off the pitch
2019 02 14 Retrieve
[Morientes backing for Madrid’s January recruit] Brahim is a signing for the future, he’s made a name for himself in the youth ranks of the Spanish national team and has proven himself at Manchester City. We are talking about him because he’s played very well and Real Madrid have bought him with an eye to the future. As with Vinicius he needs to be given time to make it into the first team
[The Brazilian arrived in Madrid with huge pressure on his shoulders as the Champions League holders forked out a massive €30 million (£26m/$34m) for him when he was just 16 but Morientes believes that it will prove to be a bargain in the long run] We were all keen to see Vinicius play to see how he develops and I think he’s a very impressive player, he’s very good in one on ones and making runs. He’s still very young, we need time to see the kind of player he will be. But, if he continues to play the way he is now, he will be a world-class player, no doubt. We should give him time, you can’t burden a young player with that much responsibility, especially at a club like Madrid
2019 03 15 Retrieve
[Former Real Madrid man Fernando Morientes on La Liga’s best] Out of the players I played with, probably Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. Fans got a chance to see him at games, but we got to see him in training and he was equally spectacular in training as he was in matches.
[And his toughest opponent?] I’m going to say Roberto Ayala. He was a centre-back at Valencia and whenever I faced him it was a real battle. Probably beating Barcelona [was my greatest La Liga triumph].
[Morientes hit 100 goals for Real Madrid over an eight-year stay with the club, five of which arrived during a single game in a historic performance] The day I scored five goals against Las Palmas at the Bernabeu
2020 06 04 Retrieve
[Fernando Morientes says Keylor Navas deserves to be recognised as a Real Madrid legend] In the end, for example, at Real Madrid I tell you that he is a legend. A player like him who has participated in great moments in Madrid must be classified as legends, without any doubt. Keylor Navas came as a substitute player for a great goalkeeper in our history as Iker Casillas was. Little by little he gained the respect of the entire public, but he was also decisive in great moments in the history of the Bernabeu
2020 06 10 Retrieve
[Fernando Morientes believes Inter star Lautaro Martinez could fit in at either Barcelona or Real Madrid] In Spain, we were lucky to enjoy great Argentine players and coaches. They have a competitive gene that is very difficult to find anywhere in the world. Barcelona is very interested in buying him, but there has also been talk of Real Madrid although I think more about Barca. He is a very interesting player for either team. He has a very good vision of the game. He is one of the best forwards in the world at the moment and I think he could fit into either team
[Messi is out of contract next year, but Morientes believes the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is destined to finish his career at Camp Nou] I don’t imagine him outside Barcelona. He reminds me of [Paolo] Maldini, [Francesco] Totti, [Carles] Puyol, like them. He is a club player, one of those who have started and finished his career in a very powerful club. I don’t even think about it. I hope he reaches an agreement. He is the most important player in Barcelona and he will be until the end of his career.
2020 06 12 Retrieve
[Fernando Morientes says James Rodriguez is an extraordinary talent & will shine with or without Real Madrid] Whatever happens in the remainder of the season, I don’t think James has gone without pain or glory. We’re talking about an extraordinary player, mythical in Colombia, for his national team. Not every player can succeed at the same level. In his first spell [at Real Madrid], James had extraordinary games and demonstrated his talent, which he put into use at Real Madrid with marvellous goals. He did have to leave and now that he’s back, he hasn’t had the involvement that surely he or the fans would’ve wanted. But succeeding at Real Madrid is very difficult because of the competition, and he himself occupies a position where there are lots players with talent and big futures. It also depends on the kind of player the coach wants. In this case, Zidane is surely thinking that he has others who perform better [than James]. For me, James is an extraordinary player and I’m convinced that we’ll see him shine again at Real Madrid or anywhere else