The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Real faith in the over-30s

Madrid: Real Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque is banking on the older players in his squad to help the European champions maintain the success they have enjoyed in recent years.

“The players that are around 30 years old are possibly more useful than the youngsters,” Del Bosque told a Spanish news agency Thursday.

“The fact that they are close to the end of their careers makes them more demanding of themselves. (Luis) Figo, Roberto Carlos, Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) will all want to finish their sporting careers on a high.”

Zidane and Figo both turned 30 this year, Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos celebrates his 30th birthday next April, while central defender Fernando Hierro is 34.

The Real coach admitted that despite the strength of his squad, which also includes younger players of the calibre of Ronaldo and Raul, the club faces a tough task in reproducing the success of recent seasons.

“The fact that Real have won the European Cup for three out of the last five seasons is extraordinary,” he said. “It would be difficult enough for any club to repeat the feat, let alone us.”

But Del Bosque said that despite his side’s poor start to the second phase of this season’s Champions League, they were still well placed to win a trophy this term.

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