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‘I regret…’ – Former Real Madrid midfielder opens up on his troubled tenure at club

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Photo via Getty Images

Real Madrid and Barcelona have constantly been in a tussle over the last several years over transfer targets, especially those in La Liga, in an attempt to reinforce their teams the best way possible.

Some of these tug-of-wars have been won by Barcelona, who have snubbed Madrid to the likes of Andre Gomes – signed from Valencia, while Los Blancos have edged the Catalans to others, like Illarramendi, who was brought in from Real Sociedad in 2013.

Neither of the two signings quite worked out for the team, but the latter, especially was considered a shock. The Basque midfielder signed with Madrid after an impressive season in La Liga, and was expected to fight for a spot in the team with Casemiro and Sami Khedira.

Eventually, though, Illarramendi spent two underwhelming seasons in the Spanish capital before moving back to Sociedad in 2015.

“Not my best version”

As Madrid take on Sociedad today in the league, Illarramendi was interviewed by Mundo Deportivo, who asked him about the fixture and also about his time with the record-Champions League winners.

“When I was at Sociedad, it was a match against one of the best teams in the world and you had extra motivation. When I was on the other side, I was playing against against my boyhood team, against my friends. It was very special,” he recounted.

Now at Dallas, Illarramendi talked about his move to Madrid in the first place in 2013, saying, “When I look back…when I left Sociedad, I was 23 years old, I still lived in my village, with my friends and I lived a normal life there as one of the town.”

“Until I left for Madrid, I had never left my environment and it affected me a little. it was difficult fo me to adapt a little to Madrid. Maybe less to the city, but at first I did feel more drowned in the city,” he added.

The Spaniard then talked about his tenure at Madrid itself, and the regret he has from the two seasons at the club.

“In Madrid you have more pressure. When I started, I did not get good games, you are losing confidence and I felt something inside me that I had not felt until then. It was hard for me to turn it around, and in the end, I regret not have shown my best version there.”

The iconic presentation photo

Illarramendi’s photo at his Santiago Bernabeu presentation got a lot of attention, as well, as he had invited a lot of his friends and family to the club, all of whom took a photo with him during his jersey presentation.

Iconic. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

“It was a different presentation. For me and for all my friends, it was something unique and I wanted to share it with them. It was a special, beautiful day, and we enjoyed it to the fullest,” Illarramendi said about it.

Illarra ended up making 90 appearances for Madrid across two seasons, scoring three goals and giving one assist.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid have found their replacement for midfielder in case he follows Kroos’ footsteps

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

According to a report from Defensa Central, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is prepared to promote Castilla player Mario Martin if Dani Ceballos leaves the team this summer.

Ceballos’ future at the club is currently a hot topic and If he does decide to leave, Ancelotti has already identified Martín as his replacement.

This news came amidst the announcement of Toni Kroos’s retirement that has sent shockwaves through Real Madrid. 

Now, it is suggested that Kroos’s retirement was expected to influence Ceballos’s future at the club. 

Initially, it seemed the former Arsenal midfielder would leave, and the club was even searching for a new team for him. However, with Kroos leaving, there could be a possibility that Ceballos could have a more significant role next season.

Real Madrid are not risking anything

Mario Martin is eager to be a part of Real Madrid’s first team. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite this, Real Madrid are not ruling out any possibilities. They are already considering potential replacements for Ceballos and have focused on promoting Martin, who wants to fight for a place in the first team.

It is said that the club is very pleased with his performance and there is even a chance that he could receive a surprise promotion if both Kroos and Ceballos leave, though the club does not expect Ceballos to depart.

Promoting Martin, who has been a regular part of the first-team training sessions, would be a cost-effective solution, aligning with club president Florentino Perez’s goal of minimizing spending on the midfield this season. 

It is to be noted that Martin has even had some playing time with the first team in recent weeks, indicating the club’s growing trust in his abilities.

Despite Kroos’s retirement announcement, Real Madrid does not plan to enter the transfer market for a new midfielder. The club is confident in the abilities of their current six midfielders, including the continued presence of Ceballos.

However, if Ceballos decides to leave, Madrid will look to their Castilla team for a replacement, with Martin being the top candidate. 

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