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Monday, December 29, 2008

Only winning is acceptable at Real: Juande Ramos

For Spaniard Juande Ramos, who managed to win a trophy with Tottenham Hotspurs, was sacked as manager in the middle of the next season, and then returned to top-flight football by taking charge at one of the biggest clubs in the world, it's been quite a year.

Ramos, whose team Real Madrid trail Barcelona by 12 points in the Spanish premier league, faces the daunting task of bringing the club's title ambitions back on track.

In a free-wheeling interview, he opens up on how his stint with the English side ended and the challenges of his new assignment. Excerpts:

Did you ever expect to end the year as Real Madrid coach?
I couldn’t have imagined all that I have already lived. I started the year fully dedicated to a very exciting challenge in the EPL. My goal was to gain back positions within the Championship for Spurs, to try to win a title and qualify for Europe.

Do you regard this challenge as the toughest of your career so far?
Every new project is always a big challenge. The only difference is that Real Madrid are one of the top clubs in the world and their objectives are of the highest level… Their goals are never to avoid relegation or to qualify for tournaments. At Real, historically, only winning is acceptable.

How would you sum up the year?
It’s been an exciting year. I have truly enjoyed every minute of it, even the tough moments that I have had. It’s been a year where I moved to the EPL, managed to win a trophy and then got another opportunity by being a part of Real.

Real have been conceding many goals this season despite having one of the best defence...
I’d rather look at how to solve this issue. The team is already stronger at the back… Sometimes this is simply luck but it is important to strengthen the self confidence.

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