Former Real Madrid star Steve McManaman has reflected on his time at the club and winning the Champions League alongside all-time greats like Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos.
McManaman started his career at Liverpool before leaving for Madrid in 1999, and he certainly had a successful stint in Spain, winning the Champions League twice, including scoring in the final in 1999/00. The former England international also picked up two La Liga titles while he was there, and the UEFA Super Cup.
Looking back on his time at the Bernabeu, McManaman admits there was a special aura about the club that made you realise how important it was to win.
“They had a relationship with the European Cup, the Champions League, because, of course, they’d won it so many times. You were hit with the fact that you have to win trophies. Once you set foot in the Bernabeu on a Champions League night, it’s an incredibly special place,” McManaman told Betway Insider.
On that final win in his first season with the club, he said: “Everyone was singing songs after the game and partying behind the goal and all of that, which was great. I remember going into the dressing room and they’re all singing these Spanish songs, and I didn’t know any of the words. Actually I remember getting my phone and I left the dressing room and sat outside the dressing room on the floor and I had loads of messages off different people. It was a very special moment.”
McManaman also revealed that some of the big names at the club at the time didn’t like being referred to as Galacticos, whilst explaining how, despite their greatness and the hype surrounding them, there were no egos in the dressing room.
“A lot of the players disliked the Galactico name. Roberto Carlos, for instance, he’s not one of the Galacticos, or the so-called Galacticos, but he’s possibly the best left-back you’ll ever see,” McManaman said. “Luis and Zizou were the so-called Galacticos, and Luis was great … Zizou was completely different because he arrived, he didn’t know Spanish, I think he only knew French, so he was actually quite quiet in the dressing room – a quite shy, quite humble gentleman, considering he was probably the greatest player on the planet at that time.
“All I can say about them – incredibly professional, no egos. When it comes to game time, they all want to win and be successful.”