Molowny, Ramón Martínez, Del Bosque...

At a time when Luis Molowny was General Manager of Real Madrid, Ramón Martínez was Director of Football and Vicente Del Bosque was the Technical Director of Football; I became the coach of Real Madrid U-19. With this team we won two Cup titles and a league title in three seasons. It seemed that finally my coaching career was moving forward.

ImagenMy achievements with the U-19 led me to being placed in charge of Castilla CF in the 2nd division. Later, I became assistant to Vicente Del Bosque with the First Team. As a young coach who had never been an elite player, reaching the team bench as assistant whilst at Real Madrid was as far as I could hope to achieve. I decided to move forward and take my own path, leaving behind the ‘white house’.

Real Valladolid had recently been relegated to the second division. They chose me to help them regain entry to the top level. It was a great challenge and opportunity for me at a professional level.

During the preseason, we built a team of with young players from ‘my’ Castilla, such as Marcos, Antía, Santamaría and Fernando. We had a strong squad that was tough enough to confidently face anything in the second division. Shortly before the competition began however, two teams from ‘La Liga’ were punished with relegation having failed to pay their debts. Real Valladolid was one of the teams selected to take their vacant positions and was promoted up to ‘La Liga’. Imagen

Being promoted to ‘La Liga’, with just 15 days to go before the start of the season and with the squad ready to play in a lower category, we had no time to react.

The team played well but obviously we were not prepared to compete in ‘La Liga’. We needed more time, preparation and experience. The directors began to get nervous and decided that a change of coach was needed. It would be my first dismissal as a football coach.

The following season I joined Atlético Osasuna (Pamplona) and faced similar issues. Objectives changed at the last minute, we expected to gain promotion to ‘La Liga’, signings were hurried, everyone was nervous and suddenly I was deemed too ‘young and inexperienced’. Despite being the same age and level of experience as I was when hired; the club decided, in the ninth week, I was not suitable for their needs.

Though times were tough, I did not give in. I was more determined than ever to prove what I could do.