March 07, 2014

Valdano: Raul can be Real's Guardiola

Former Real Madrid coach coach Jorge Valdano has told AS that Raul Gonzalez could soon return to Los Blancos as coach and make a similar impact to Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.

After two years at Bundesliga side Schalke, the 36-year-old is currently at Qatari club Al-Sadd, but is set to retire at the end of the current campaign.

Former Barca defender Guardiola followed a similar path, gaining experience both elsewhere in Europe and in Qatar, before returning to the Camp Nou as a coach and going on to oversee the most successful era in the Catalan club’s history.

Valdano -- the coach who gave Raul his Madrid debut as a 17-year-old -- thinks that the striker would likely bring a more ‘German’ organisation to the teams he goes on to coach.

"It would not be a team comparable to Guardiola's," Valdano said at an event in Madrid organised by football magazine Panenka. "Raul admires more German teams than Brazilian teams. I believe he is really intelligent, he has the personality to stop a train, with Madridismo coming out of all his pores.

"He is destined to be the Guardiola of Real Madrid, but with an identity which is more of Real Madrid than Barcelona. I believe he is preparing for this, and he will do it with the same intelligence with which he managed his career as a player.

"He is very relaxed about it, but I am very impatient about seeing his Madrid. He will bring a sentimental depth to the club."

Raul left Madrid under something of a cloud in 2010, reportedly at the wishes of club president Florentino Perez and the incoming coach Jose Mourinho.

Ahead of last August's exhibition game between Los Blancos and Al-Sadd at the Bernabeu, Raul suggested that it would make sense to gain more coaching experience elsewhere before he eventually ended up back at the Bernabeu.

"To come [back] to Madrid is always in my head; when I believe that I can bring something to the club I would be delighted to return," Raul said.

"But for that, a transition is necessary, and an apprenticeship to know if I am capable of doing something which can help."