Claude Makelele has revealed the reasons behind his sudden departure from Real Madrid despite being crucial to their success.
Former France international, Claude Makelele will go down in the history books as the archetype of the defensive midfielder role that has become so important in football. The Frenchman was so good at his job that his role is now called the Makelele-role.
At Real Madrid, Makelele established himself as one of the greatest defensive midfielders of all time. His time at the club coincided with multiple successes in Europe and in Spain. However, the Frenchman left the club at the height of his powers.
And his departure also led to the club sinking to unfathomable depths.
As reported by The Daily Star, Makelele revealed that Forentino Lopez went behind his promise of giving him a new contract and was disrespectful.
“During this time I had two years left on my contract , after we won our first La Liga title [2000/01].
“Afterwards, the club president [Florentino Lopez] said to me ‘maybe we’ll renew your contact for another year’.
“I said it would be my pleasure.
“He said ‘it won’t be what we give [Zinedine] Zidane’ but I didn’t care.
“I shook his hand at every single game. I spoke to the President and said ‘when I come back, I’ll sign my contract’.
“‘Yes, no problem’, he replied.”
Makelele added: “The club then signed [David] Beckham and even more of the ‘Galacticos’.
“When we came back, I got my manager to see the President for my new contract.
“But he said there was no money left after signing Beckham.”
The Frenchman saw manager Vincente Del Bosque, who fought the midfielder’s corner – but he received a brutal response from sporting director Jorge Valdano.
“He came to talk to me a little too aggressively,” Makelele continued.
“‘What are you thinking? You should be playing at Real Madrid for free’.
“He said ‘if you want to move, find us a team that will pay 15m Euros for you’.
“Five teams made big offers – I didn’t want any problems.”
The Frenchman, though, reached his breaking point with Madrid.
“But Real denied any offers, so I went to the manager,” Makelele said.
“I said ‘I’ve got a problem now. I don’t want to play here anymore – the club doesn’t respect me’.
“I wanted my team-mates to know the story because I was going to fight the club.”