“Facing Roberto Carlos was a personal challenge”
Aitor López Rekarte (Arrasate, 08/18/1975) has on his resume no less than six victories against Real Madrid, five of them achieved at Anoeta. Few Real players have experienced the sensation of defeating the Whites so many times that they hope to repeat today, albeit as a spectator.
Which victory do you have the best memory of?
With Real Madrid there was quite a difference between the games you played at home, where we were better able to compete and achieve great results, those you played at the Bernabéu than except for that game in which Xabi Prieto scored two goals and we won 1- 4 … Of the games played in Anoeta I remember a 3-0 and a 4-2 runner-up.
What is the first thing that comes to mind in those duels?
Especially the great atmosphere that used to be in Anoeta, as there will be tomorrow -for today-.
Does the footballer get extra-motivated with Real Madrid in front of him?
Yes I think so. The fact of being third and fighting to keep staying up there is motivation enough. If you then face Real Madrid, it is another incentive to, if you can, do your best because you face one of the best teams in the world and facing good people is always motivating.
What does Real Madrid have?
It always strikes me that it is the typical team that, because of the players it has, anything can happen on the pitch because, as Imanol pointed out, even Ancelotti says that players sometimes do things that he doesn’t say.
Which Real Madrid player left the most impression on you?
As a rival and of course, facing Roberto Carlos was a personal challenge and it was very motivating. Fat Ronaldo was a beast when he broke. He played as a forward, but he was on the wing, very open, he made a diagonal towards the goal and was unstoppable, a beast. It was great and that at that time it already started to come down a little at the knees, because it had taken on a little more weight. And Figo, whom I faced with Barça and Real Madrid. He was a great player who could go anywhere, although there were games in which he was thicker. Even the same Savio who later played for Real, was an arrow with a very good driving, the typical one with which you cannot relax.
Saving the logical distances, does this match remind you in anything of the runner-up?
I would say no. They are probably similar situations but the context has changed a lot. Obviously it is an important and transcendental match and that is how the player and the fans have to see it, but it does not remind me of what I experienced.
With the field full and after the last referees suffered, a hot atmosphere is expected. Do you see the risk that the Real footballer could get excessively infected and lose his mind?
No, although it will depend a lot on how the game goes. In that sense, the messages you send to yourself during the week and in training are important. If you are heating up the game from within because of the refereeing, the logical thing is that when something like this happens to you in the game, you do not react in a coherent way. But there is no fear there because Imanol this week has already made it very clear. Even in the worst referee errors, the responsibility for the results has been his and the players. It is true that they are specific moments and that they have a lot of relevance, but we cannot be crying all day.
If you only see the results, Real Madrid looks like a steamroller. If instead their matches are seen, it gives a feeling of fragility. Which version do you keep?
It seems to me a very high-quality team one by one, but those who later find it difficult to return some, find it difficult at times to be positioned in a way that the opposite does not surprise them.
If he played today he would have to do with Vinicius. How would the party be planned?
You have to be very sure if you want to anticipate. In the entrances you have to be very cautious but be very clear that forcefulness is very important with this type of player. That is to say, strong innings, without hurting, but in which the opponent feels that he is at home, that you are playing the quarters. Zaldua and Gorosabel are trained to defend Vinicius well, although the help will be important because if there is one thing that is good for a winger it is to have people around, especially when you face unbalancing players. This has its counterpart because in the end what these types of players do is attract a lot of people and when you attract a lot of people, gaps are generated and that is where Benzema appears.
How about your debut as a commentator on DAZN?
Good, but this is something specific because I am dedicated to representing footballers and I am a coach’s teacher. I do various things.
Did you like the experience?
I like to write more. Sometimes I write articles and I like it more. The live broadcast, especially for those of us who have no experience, is a world that you have to do.
Will it repeat?
I think so.
If he wins the Cup with the Real, a long road awaits him …
Well, if that’s why, it would be good because the Cup touches my heart a lot because in our time it was a competition that was reviled and for me there is nothing more beautiful and that connects more with football than the Cup.