Real Madrid – La Liga Former Atalanta forward speaks to MARCA
Fede Magallanes joined Real Madrid for six million euros in the January transfer window of 1988 after two great seasons at Atalanta, the team Los Blancos will face in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Things didn’t quite go to plan for Magallanes at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but he’s spoken to MARCA about his two former sides ahead of the first leg of their tie on February 24.
On Wednesday, Atalanta face Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16. Does this bring back some memories?
There are lots of memories that come to my head and most of them are really good ones. Atalanta was my first club in Europe. I had a great time in the two years I was there. I learned a lot and matured a lot. The club gave me everything. I was really happy in Bergamo. The club gave me so much and let me sign for Real Madrid.
Were you maybe too young when you arrived in Spain?
It’s true that I wasn’t completely prepared. When I signed it wasn’t the ideal moment to arrive at Real Madrid, because I still hadn’t done anything big in European football. I hadn’t won any leagues and I hadn’t finished top scorer in Italy even though I was playing really well there. However, I took the opportunity just like anyone else would have because when Madrid come calling you can’t say ‘no’. I was then loaned to Racing [Santander].
What memories do you have from the Bernabeu?
When I arrived, I found myself in a team who had just won the Champions League. They’d just won their seventh European Cup and had a fantastic team. They beat a great Juventus side and had some great players. When I arrived I had to stay in a hotel for 15 days until they sorted out my transfer, which was quite historic. There were some problems, but after I signed I was presented at the training ground and I was given a great welcome. There were all kinds of champions in that squad: champions of Spain, Europe, America and the world, but they were still just normal people. They were great with me and I’m still really grateful for that.
What’s your prediction for this last-16 tie?
With the form that both sides have been in, I think we’re going to see a close match. Atalanta go into the game with a bit of an advantage, but Madrid carry a lot of weight because of the pedigree they have in this competition. I follow the Italians because I still have friends there. They’ve grown a lot over recent years because the club is being run well both on and off the pitch. When you do the work properly, the results come. Like they say here in Uruguay, work pays off. That’s why I think it’s going to be a tough game for Real Madrid, even though it seemed like quite an easy game when it was drawn. [Zinedine] Zidane’s team aren’t at the top of their game and they’ll need to be at their best if they want to go through to the next round.