The new Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari will surely already be feeling the pressure of the hardest job in world football after he replaced the departed Julen Lopetegui yesterday on a ‘provisional’ basis.
An Argentine who spent a five-year spell with the club as a player, Solari had been at the held of the club’s B team.
He may now be about to feel the pinch more, though, after some determined sleuths have unearthed some comments he made about the arch nemesis of Madridistas everywhere, Lionel Messi.
Solari is from the same city in Argentina, Rosario, as the Barcelona star and he’s been fulsome in his praise La Pulga.
Showing his creative side while writing for El Pais in 2012, he described the ability of Messi in fairly rich terms.
"Every time Messi receives the ball the earth shakes, everyone becomes silent and rival coaches sink their heads between the shoulders and put their hands in their pockets, like someone who has just seen lightning and has no choice but to wait for the thunder, the air trembles a few seconds, then the goal is heard."
A year later he didn’t shy away from showing his where his true loyalties lay when asked about that age-old Messi/Ronaldo debate.
“Cristiano is the best player in the world because Messi plays another sport, what's really incredible about him has been his tremendous regularity for the last 4-5 years, a thing of not stopping, something practically inhuman."
“Messi has marked an era,” he told ESPN two years ago. "I wish it could had been here, at Real Madrid … Real Madrid want to have the best, but unfortunately they couldn't have Messi, although we have great players."
Let’s hope those Real fans can bring themselves to show their famous forgiving streak for as long as Santiago holds onto the job.