Roberto López (Zaragoza, 2000) speaks as he plays, concise and forceful. It is not decorated, it goes to the point, it is explained in monosyllables and it attends the first touch. On Sunday he made his debut as a starter in the Real at 20 years old. Today he is baptized in MD in his first interview as a professional player.
When does Imanol say that he is going to start?
In the same talk before the game, the one we usually do before going to the field. He tells us all.
How did it stay?
I already smelled something and was tense. When I saw my name, it got on my nerves, but already very well since I got to the field. It was the moment I had been waiting for a long time.
They arrived with just 40 minutes ahead to warm up, did it help you?
It got on my nerves when I put on my boots and they left me when I got to the tunnel to warm up.
Look to the side and see Merino, Portu, Oyarzabal, Moyá… how does it feel?
Good, because they have always covered us who went up. We feel like one more and that is easier. There are no differences. Very comfortable.
How did you see yourself on the pitch?
Well. We had a lot of the ball, but they didn’t allow us to make many clear chances. It wasn’t the best day from three quarters up. From set pieces I did look good. I needed to intervene in more plays, but good feelings in general. I left happy. Not for the goal, but for the game.
How did you stay when you saw the ball go in?
At first I thought it wouldn’t fit. I thought Mikel (Merino) could touch it, but he doesn’t and it was an affordable ball for Masip. And when it enters, a tremendous joy.
How did you react?
First I look at the referee and the assistant to see if they give it, because Masip tries to take it out. But he came in and it was a very good point.
He has taken much better fouls …
It wasn’t one of the best I’ve ever gotten. It was well targeted, yes, but it was more of Masip’s mistake than mine.
Did you get many compliments?
I had to do an interview with LaLiga. When I entered the locker room, everyone congratulated me, congratulated me and there was some joke, but calmly. The cell phone was full of messages.
What was the most special?
That of my mistress and that of my family.
Where did they see it from?
My mother saw it with my sister and with my aunt through the computer, in the town, in Villafranca de Navarra. And in the end they were very excited. There was also a party in the bar, where all my friends were watching.
Friendship, your home club, takes money, what do you think?
Very good. They have seen me grow up playing in a potato field, because it was a field potato. They gave me everything there and are very happy now. They helped me learn.
Does the announcement of the Real that it passes to the first team and its ownership confirm that it remains?
Yes, yes, I stay. This is how it appeared on the website of the Real. That it is with the subsidiary’s number is the least. It is one more step for me.
There were many teams interested in his loan, we ruled it out, right?
What does Imanol transmit to you?
That I continue as before and that I have a lot of confidence in myself.
How have these months been for Roberto López?
Everything has happened and very quickly. I was at Sanse and one day the second coach sent me a message to tell me that I had to train with the first team until further notice. And I no longer went back to the branch. This year I will never forget it.
She is a midfielder and in three months she has trained with Merino, Odegaard and Silva …
It is a privilege for me to train with them.
What do you think of Silva’s arrival?
With Silva I have only been able to train for three days, but you can see that he is one of the elite. I follow him from Valencia, I remember when he achieved the World Cup and the Euro Cups with the national team, I have followed him at City, I feel privileged to be able to train with him.
What did you think when they told you that you were going to Odegaard and he was coming?
That for me it is much better to learn from him. A privilege.
What stands out about this Real Madrid?
We know they have incredible potential, that they are a team full of stars, that they are the current champions of the League and now with five changes they have more options to use all the ‘gamers’ they have. If Valderde does not play, Odegaard will play, there are Kroos, Modric … We have to press them up and not give them a second, because they can mess it up. We will go for the three points.
You are 20 years old, what aspirations have you set for yourself at La Real?
For now, go step by step. I want to enjoy this year, which is very beautiful, and to see how we can face it. My intention is to play, I hope I have minutes. I know it is complicated by the competition, but we will go for it. With so much game, we may have the opportunity.
Do you feel the confidence of Olabe and Imanol?
I feel your confidence from the first minute I went up. I have always seen Imanol very close and super hard-working. I notice that Imanol has a lot of confidence in me since we met at Sanse. It demands a lot from you, but that’s fine.
Has any of his mythical quarrels fallen on you?
Yes, yes, I think we all do.
How does it tighten you?
It demands much more from me in duels, in falls, in bodybuilding …
What is your strong point?
The quality and the hitting with the left foot.
And what should it improve on?
Especially in duels.
What is your favorite position?
Third height, playmaker.
Are you a football fan?
If much. When I can, I watch games, even if it’s Second B or Third. I pay special attention to those who play on the inside in the top positions.
Did Ronaldinho, for example, come too soon?
I saw him play, but I wasn’t very aware of who he was. I’m more from the Messi era.
What have you done with the debut shirt?
I kept both. I keep them to myself.
How is your relationship now with the Sanse players?
I keep staying with them like I did before. I’m not going to belittle anyone for being up or down. We are there for whatever. Everyone congratulated me.
What is its history?
I started playing for a futsal team in Zaragoza, Vadorrey. And Friendship called seven of us who played there, in Infantil Txiki or there. There I went up categories, and in all of them, from children to cadets, I was called Zaragoza. I always said no to them because I wanted to keep playing with my friends. My cousin Jesusín told me to think about it, that the train does not usually pass twice. Until Athletic showed up.
And what happened?
I played two tournaments with them. And then they told me that there were a lot of people in my position. I returned to Amistad and that is when Villarreal wanted to sign me. Everything was almost closed, I was seeing the facilities and Liverpool came.
And did they let him go?
My mistress and my coach, Kike Lozano, told me that this opportunity should not be missed, that it was a unique experience. I spent a week training in Liverpool with two other guys. We came back and after a week and a half they said no. Villarreal was considered a second course and they didn’t sign me either. I was left with nothing, I was sunk and that’s when the Real appeared.
How was that?
They had already noticed me. Luki (Iriarte) came down to see me at a match with Amistad, on a half-muddy dirt field. And there he told me that they were interested in signing me. And I played the Roberto López Ufarte Trophy in Irun as a test. It was the only one. I already stayed. I think I was not yet 15 years old.
Curious, that it was in the Tournament of an idol of the Royal who is his namesake.
And that he also played against Zaragoza and scored a goal for a friend of mine.
And from there?
In August I already started playing at the Real, in the Basque Cadet, with Satrústegui. From the beginning, I lived in the Olarain Residence. The first days were tough, but then I adapted. Companions like Pacheco, Ayesa were already there …
He has had a few coaches, who marked him?
Satrus was squeezing us a lot. It imposed a lot. Imanol at Sanse was the one who gave me the pass. In the Honor Division, with Arrieta, I also took a very important step.
What image did you have of the Real when you came?
He hardly knew her. It was all Madrid-Barça. I have been discovering it and realizing that it welcomes players from outside very well being from the quarry. Now I almost consider myself one more Gipuzkoan.
Signed until 2025 two years ago, what does this mean?
That in my mind there is only the Real, that I do not think about other clubs nor are they interested in me right now. And even if they do, I only think of the Real.
Have you had offers these years from other teams like Athletic?
Yes, I have had offers, also from Athletic, but Real was the one that noticed me from the beginning and here I am very happy, giving everything.