Interview: Gaizka Mendieta at #SoccerexGC2015

Samindra Kunti reporting from the 2015 Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, UK.

Former Barcelona and Spain legend talks La Roja, Del Bosque and Qatar 2022 World Cup.

What do you think of the current Spain generation, what about Spain’s chances at EURO2016?

It’s a competition for Spain to prove that what happened at the World Cup was an accident. Spain have got the base, the players and the manager to start over again and that is what is what Spain need to do – firstly, to qualify and then have a great tournament. It’s very difficult, it gets more difficult every time to play against any national team. It’s very hard to prove yourself and make that difference, but that’s the task for Spain.

Do you think that Del Bosque sometimes has favorites?

Every manager has – I wouldn’t say favorites – but players they trust and with whom they have worked for a long time. There will always be players who play more or who get more call-ups. He will pick the players that he thinks are the best for the team. It’s his job to make Spain champions. Sometimes a player might deserve to be there and he is not. It’s about those decisions.

What’s your opinion about the incredulous De Gea situation?

Well, Two clubs that messed it up basically with agents. I don’ think we will ever know what really happened. The papers were on time, but who is to blame? I am not sure. Again, it seems Manchester United blame Madrid and Madrid blame Manchester United. You feel sad and sorry for the player, because he was ready to make a movie to another city and another club. At the last minute it doesn’t work out, it’s difficult mentality. But both club and player are professional enough to carry on.

What’s your view on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

There has always been controversy around World Cup hosts. We have seen that in every tournament – in Brazil, in South Africa and we might see it again next year in Brazil [with the 2016 Rio Olympic Games]. So, there will be pressure on Qatar. It’s good that Qatar have the opportunity [to host the World Cup]. It will be a very different opportunity. I have been in Qatar a few times – all the facilities and infrastructure is there to make it happen and deliver a fantastic World Cup.

So you are optimistic?

They have a lot to overcome, like every other nation had in the past – trouble with delivering on time, problems with workers or fans, any social movements. Again, Qatar have the confidence and the experience to deliver a great World Cup.

Who is the best player you ever played with?

I have been lucky to play with so many great players – to pick one would be unfair! Barcelona, Valencia, Lazio and Spain…so many great players. I can’t pick one!

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