'Galacticos era Madrid much better than Decima winners'

EXCLUSIVE: Cruz Azul attacking midfielder Christian Gimenez has compared the current Blancos XI with the expensively assembled Santiago Bernabeu squad from the early 2000s

Real Madrid’s Galacticos-era team were “much better” than the current set of players who won the Decima, according to Cruz Azul veteran Christian ‘El Chaco’ Gimenez.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men secured the club’s 10th European Cup earlier this year with an extra-time victory over rivals Atletico Madrid and are in the midst of a 19-game run of victories ahead of their Club World Cup games.

However, El Chaco does not think Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. hold a candle to the expensively assembled Madrid squad that kicked about at the Santiago Bernabeu a little over a decade ago.

“That Real Madrid team in 2000 was not just ‘good’,” the Mexican attacker told Goal. “How can they only be described as ‘good’?! That Madrid, for big names, was much better than this Madrid!

“Iker Casillas played back then too, also Luis Figo and later there was Ronaldo [Nazario] and Zinedine Zidane too. In this squad, Cristiano Ronaldo makes the difference for them.

“But we respect this Real Madrid a lot, of course. We know the quality and the players they have, we are not underestimating anything. We know that in Spain they have won lots of consecutive games.

“But I always say that if we played against Real Madrid 10 times, we can beat them once or twice. And if we have to play in the Club World Cup semi-final, we hope it may be precisely the time when we win.”

Cruz Azul will face the Champions League winners in the inter-continental tournament’s final on December 16 if they win Saturday’s quarter-final against Asian entrants Western Sydney Wanderers.

“We feel fine ahead of the Club World Cup and the debut against Western Sidney Wanderers,” El Chaco added. “It’s not quite been like a pre-season, but we’ve had time to adapt to the tournament.

“The squad’s very happy and we’re excited to play. We know that it is an extremely important tournament for Mexico and all of the Concacaf region.

“Maybe in Europe there is not the same feeling of importance towards the Club World Cup as there is within Concacaf nations. But, anyway, when the tournament starts everybody wants to win it.

“Real Madrid are the team to beat and they will want to win the tournament. We will prepare in the best way and we know it will be a beautiful tournament. It’ll be very important for our careers and we’ll take everything in our stride.”

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