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Savio: "We cared about Real Madrid"

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Savio: 'We cared about Real Madrid' © Getty Images Savio: 'We cared about Real Madrid'

Savio Bortolini arrived in Spain in 1998. He learned his trade at Flamengo, playing up front alongside none other than Romario, and it was Real Madrid who gave him the chance to play in Europe. He played at the Bernabéu for five years and, after a period of adaptation, earned himself a place in the starting XI. He was a quick, skilful player with a great left foot and an eye for goals. His track record with Real Madrid is brilliant: one La Liga title, one Spanish Super Cup, three Champions League titles and one Intercontinental. He lost his place in the line-up when Zinedine Zidane arrived in the 2001-2002 season and he then played out the year that he had left on his contract on loan at Girondins de Bordeaux.


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Nowadays, Savio is a commentator on the Brazilian 'Esporte Interactivo' channel. On Friday we ran into him at the Real Madrid training ground and he gave us an interview in which he looked back at his days as a Blanco player. He compared the current side with his own one and spoke about the, as he saw it, slim possibility of his countryman Neymar ending up playing for Real Madrid: "Neymar is happy at Barça, and he is also winning a lot of titles, I see it as unlikely that he will sign for Real Madrid because they are the eternal rivals of his current club, although of course anything can happen in football. He would go down well at the Bernabéu because he plays good football."

A three-times winner of the Champions League while at Real Madrid, Savio he compared his times there with the current situation at the club: "We had some top-quality players, Hierro, Sanchís, Redondo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl, Mijatovic, Seedorf and so on, but as well as that we were really united, we were committed to and cared about Real Madrid and that is the big difference." He did, though, have a message for the Real Madrid faithful: "The year we won the 'Octava', the eighth European crown, we had a bad season in La Liga and ended up winninng the Champions League. Fans should not give up hope, because that title is still there to play for."

One of the most-asked questions in recent years concerns the comparison between Messi and Cristiano and Savio coud not make up his mind who was the better player: "Without Messi, Cristiano would not be so good, and vice-versa." For the former winger there is one player who stands out above all others: "I am a fan of Iniesta, he is unique."

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