QPR's Esteban Granero says Real Madrid academy transformed him
Last Updated: November 14, 2012 8:10am
Former Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero told Revista that the role of the club's academy isn't necessarily to produce players for Los Blancos - but for the game in general.
The 25-year-old, who signed for QPR this summer, met up with Guillem Balague at El Parita of Mayfair to talk about his time at the Bernabeu.
In the first part of a two-episode interview, Granero spoke about Real's philosophy of player development, how that has spread out around the globe and how he got his nickname...
Guillem: Why are you called El Pirata?
Esteban: When I was maybe 16 or 17 I was in the Real Madrid academy and on Real Madrid TV we have one commentator who started calling me this because he thought that I looked like a pirate and I I wanted to steal the ball.
Guillem: What do you learn in the Real Madrid lower ranks that you can take with you everywhere?
Esteban: After you leave the Real Madrid academy, you have become a good footballer. You can use all your talent because you have developed it. They teach you ambition because you have the goal to play in the first team of Real Madrid. This feeds your ambition a lot.
When you leave Real Madrid you have your ambition at a higher level, so this is also good.
Guillem: Is it a club philosophy that they prefer to sign players from abroad with big names than nurturing players?
Esteban: You have to become one of the greatest players in the world to be able to play in the first team. This is not wrong because this is Real Madrid.
"They teach you ambition because you have the goal to play in the first team of Real Madrid. This feeds your ambition a lot."
If you are playing for the academy of another lower team maybe it is easier for you to play in the first team but for Real Madrid this is harder.
But this is not because the philosophy is not good - it is because Real Madrid is the greatest team in the world and playing for Real Madrid, also for the people from the academy, cannot be easy. If it was easy the team wouldn't be that big and that good.
Guillem: In fact there are false perceptions, if you like, of the academy of Barcelona and that of Real Madrid. They say that because the players of the Real Madrid academy don't get into the first team, the academy is not good enough when in fact there are more players from the Real Madrid lower ranks in the first and second division in Spain and abroad that there are in Barcelona.
Esteban: Of course Real Madrid would love to have many players in their first team from the Academy; as I said before, you have to be one of the greatest players in the world to play in the first team and sometimes there is one player who is able to do it and sometimes there's not.
If you are not good enough, of course you have to try and find your way abroad. If you can find your place in the first team and you are good enough to push the door down, that's good. Maybe you can't and you have to go abroad or maybe you can, as I did, and then you have to go abroad and then maybe comeback or maybe not.
The important thing is how Real Madrid has helped all their players who now are in the first team, like Iker Casillas, Álvaro Arbeloa - there are many - and how Real Madrid has helped the players who now are not in the first team like me and Mata. This is not the failure of Real Madrid.
Tune into next week's Revista for the second part of Guillem's interview with Esteban...