“We want revenge against Chelsea”

(CNN Spanish) — Nacho Fernández, born on January 18, 1990, is a Real Madrid patrimony. The player, from Alcalá de Henares, is part of the brief white list of “One Club Men”, players who have only worn one shirt.

José María Zárraga, José Antonio Camacho, Chendo, Manolo Sanchís (son) and Nacho, almost nothing. A significant achievement, without a doubt, considering that the Chamartín club is 120 years old and is the most successful in Europe. On the pitch, Nacho is synonymous with dedication, effort and, above all, concentration.

“Carletto” Ancelotti already said it in his day: “He is a player who has the ability to stay focused for 90 minutes. I always say that there are two types of defenders, the pessimists and the optimists. And he is a pessimistic defender, because he always thinks that something bad can happen and that is why he is always focused for the 90 minutes”.

Nacho has played more than 400 games between the first team and the academy, he has 18 titles with the first team, including four Champions Leagues and four Club World Cups. In the last Champions League game, against Paris Saint-Germain, he played in two positions and stopped the magical Parisian trident dead in its tracks.

CNN en Español spoke exclusively with the greatest exponent of the Real Madrid academy at the magnificent Real Madrid Sports City in Valdebebas, in Madrid.

Nacho has only played for Real Madrid, he is a “One Club Man”

“Well, it’s special. It’s the club of my life since I was little. I was the first fan of this club. My family is Madrid. I’m from Madrid, it’s the club of my life where I’ve been since I was very little. My The objective is not to be a ‘One Club Man’, but I do like to go step by step, above all to be happy at the moment, as it is right now, and little by little, knowing the difficulty of continuing to increase the years of the contract in this club.”

He arrived at Real Madrid at the age of 10

“These are other times. My son, for example, who is just starting out, doesn’t know what a dirt field is, he doesn’t know what mud is. As a child I had to play on dirt fields, with mud, which I I think that in the end it is also nice because you have a very good memory, but you live it with the happiness of any child and logically now when you are older, all those memories are super nice.

At the age of 11 they told him that he had to give up football. Today he has four Champions League

“The memories are good and bad, I’ve always said it. I was a normal child, I played football at first in my school, then in a club in Alcalá de Henares, then I went to Madrid when I was 10 years old and suddenly when I was almost 12 years old. They tell me that I have diabetes, a disease that logically I still have today, and they tell me that I have to finish football because it was very difficult to combine it. Then, it went from the worst to the best because three days is when my endocrine is coming in, the one who is going to take all the illness from when I was little, especially and that I have a lot of love for, by the way. And then comes the good part, because after three days my life changes completely, they told me that soccer was fundamental, that it was practically an obligation to play sports. So, of course, for a child to go from one side to the other in so few days, well that was nice for me, because I had the good side, which is that I could continue playing football and here we continue”.

How does a professional soccer player live with a disease like this

“It’s not a headache. I think that in the end diabetes makes you a more responsible person, manage everything better, especially when you have to start small. You have to take much more care of your diet, but it’s not a headache It’s something that goes with you for life. Whether you’re a footballer or not, it’s a disease that you have to take care of and by taking care of yourself you’re a totally normal person and there’s no problem at all”.

Advice for the youngest who have diabetes

“It’s something that makes me very proud because here I receive many letters from parents who have diagnosed their children with the disease. I try to answer everything I can with the help of the club and the advice is to take good care of yourself. Logically, not just football , if he practices any other sport, which is essential to lead a healthy and good life and like a normal child, which is fundamental. Thank God, everything has gone very well for me too, but I have not stopped being happy for that disease, quite the opposite. Thanks also to the help of my parents and all the doctors I’ve had, because I’ve had a completely normal life”.

Nacho Fernández and his future at Real Madrid 2:00

He would love to retire at Real Madrid, but not in any way

“The competition of this club is something that I have lived with since I entered when I was 10 years old, you are in the best club in the world. Even when you are 10 years old, there are the best here, it is something that I have lived with all my life, I’m used to it and it’s made me a better footballer than I was and I feel comfortable fighting with the best. For me, Real Madrid is my home. I haven’t considered leaving, but there have been years that, logically, I’ve seen more outside than inside because it wasn’t a good year for me. But, at a given moment, between all of us, the club, the coach and my family, we decided. I don’t regret it, of course, but there have been years that have been more complicated and, logically, my head thinks about other things, but I’m happy here. I like to live from day to day, to be happy as I am now, playing games that in the end is what is important for the player and, logically, I I would love to retire here, but not at any price.”

Does the mystique of the Santiago Bernabéu really exist in the Champions League? 2:17

The mystique of the Santiago Bernabéu and its energy in the Champions League

“That energy from the Bernabéu reaches the footballer when he is playing. Logically, when you are in a game and you are 100% focused on plays, on what is happening, you are not thinking about that, but that energy that the fan feels, like you You’re telling me, the player, especially in games like the other day (PSG) that we had to come back from a difficult Champions League match comes to us and in an exaggerated way. The Bernabéu is special, you think about it and you get goosebumps “Living nights like this because they are for the whole of history, they are magical. And we players live that energy with great intensity. I’m 32 years old and I still get nervous with those kinds of games. I’d be lying if I told you I’m going to face the game and nothing happens. Those nerves exist. A player, whoever he is, even if he is a world star, surely he has those nerves inside. Logically, you have to know how to handle them. We are used to this type of game and as you go getting older and you grow in football that kind of nerves are managed in one way or another, but there are nerves in the footballer and in my case, always, always”.

The game against PSG and the setback against Barcelona

“These are different games. I think PSG never underestimated us. I think they had a very good tie, the thing is that they were overwhelmed by our last minutes. I think PSG had a very good tie, but what We have talked about the atmosphere of the Bernabéu, the historic nights that this club has, the greatness that Real Madrid is. They see each other in a moment of doubt and there we knew how to take out the steamroller, so to speak, and turn everything around in practically for a short time. It was special for everyone, I think. Not because of the comeback, because of what the rival meant, because it had been a long time since there had been a tie at the Bernabéu due to all the covid and last year we couldn’t play at home It was all a cluster of circumstances.

Then, for example, the Barcelona thing is a different game, where with the advantage in the League it is very big. Logically, it’s not that we came out relaxed, but maybe you come out in another way and there is always an opponent in front trying to find your weak points. In the end, we are people, football can change suddenly. So it’s hard to explain. You can prepare very well for a game, but you also have a rival in front of you who is doing the same thing. Football is also beautiful because of that, because the same thing doesn’t always happen and no matter how much you prepare and maybe you’re even better than the rival, you don’t always have to win”.

What it’s like to see Mbappé live on the pitch

“I watch a lot of football, I’ve seen a lot of Mbappé’s matches, we had already played against Mbappé here in Madrid and he was a great player, but now he’s… I don’t know. To be honest, I was so surprised live in the match first leg as well as the return leg. I think he has managed to reach a very, very high level. He has the whole road ahead of him to mark an era, without a doubt. And if everything respects him and he continues to be just as professional, which I think which he is, he can mark an era, without a doubt. Seeing him live is amazing. I’d love for him to play with us because he’s a very trademark Real Madrid player. So hopefully, hopefully he can come”.

Haaland and Mbappé: replacement of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?

“They are the relief, by numbers, by goals, by what they are doing at the moment… but then, that they can reach those records that they have (Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi) of goals, assists, cups won … it’s very difficult. They have a very complicated road ahead of them, but they are the relief and hopefully they can fulfill that relief here”.

The DNA of Real Madrid in the Champions League

“That feeling, that energy every time there is a Champions League match is special. People know that, when the Champions League comes, it’s not just any match. The players also feel that way. And that DNA is like that obligation to win, to always give the maximum. We are the team with the most European Cups in history and every year it forces you not to win, but at least to try”.

Rematch against Chelsea

“This year I think we are better at team level, especially because of the situation in the league. Last year we were in a slightly more complicated position. This year we have a good advantage and a lot of confidence. Last year, Chelsea were very In fact, they were finally the champions and we still competed. This year we are very excited to face them, of that rematch and, logically, to be able to eliminate them. It will be a very complicated tie, very hard, very disputed. They have a great team, a great squad, above all, which is very important for this type of tie, and they are current champions and it’s not going to be easy”.

Does Karim Benzema deserve to win a Ballon d’Or? 0:33

Benzema and the Ballon d’Or

“Karim Benzema has been showing it for quite a few years now, I have been with Karim for many years and what he is doing this season and the previous ones is very difficult to see with any other player in Europe, he is a world player. Of course he would deserve to win a Ballon de Gold and I, as a teammate, would be delighted to have another teammate. The Ballon d’Or was already won by Cristiano, and by Modrić, and having another Ballon d’Or teammate would be spectacular.”

This is how Nacho Fernández lives football

“I live everything very intensely within myself. I am very intense, especially with myself, and I like to always be focused because for me each play is fundamental as a defense, logically. So, it is true that I do not usually get very angry with rivals. I have discussed with many, logically, but they don’t usually take me out of the game for that. Concentration, especially with myself, is fundamental”.

No one takes away the illusion of going to the World Cup in Qatar

“Nobody takes away the illusion of playing for my country, no matter what happens. I was lucky enough to go to the last World Cup with Spain. Now there is another coach and it is true that in the last calls he hasn’t called me, but the illusion I’m never going to lose it. What I have to try to do is continue playing for Real Madrid at a good level, which is what I’m doing now and we’ll see what happens in the future”.

Full interview: