Walsall Web-Fans caught up with former Real Madrid, Macclesfield, Tranmere and Blackpool winger Pedro Matias. The interview, released for the first time was conducted a few months a go and reflects on a career which started at the top and peaked at Bescot.
Zidane: Hi Pedro, thanks for taking time to speak with Walsall Web-Fans. As a youngster growing up in Spain, are there many sports which compete with Football for youngsters attentions? Did you play any other sports yourself?
Pedro: When I was younger football was the only sport I played. I was 24 hours a day thinking of football
Zidane: You were part of the Real Madrid youth set up, one of, if not the biggest club in the World!? What is it like being within the youth system of such a massive club? Can you briefly explain the youth operation of such a huge giant of the game.
Pedro: It was a constant competition. From day one they taught you to win every single game, you were playing for one of the best clubs in the world, if not the best, and they were no friendlies. They taught you to give 100% every day and to have a huge respect for your opponents. It was a great school for life too.
How did your career progress at Real Madrid once you got older and progressed through the academy? It was for Real Madrid B where you played your football. Is it hard for youngsters at the club given the massive amount of money at the club’s disposal and their long history of buying the best global talent?
Every end of the season we went to the Bernabeu’s office to see if we were in or out. It was a hard moment. As you said it was very hard to keep your place at the club, the best players from Spain were ready to push you out. That makes you stronger and I manage to play 6 years there. For me to reach Real Madrid B was a huge success.
I read somewhere a rumour which claimed at Real Madrid you get lessons in how to … shall we say make the most of challenges!? (diving) Is this correct?
Not. As I said they taught you to respect the opponents. A different thing we had to learn was sometimes from the fair play of the England players about the diving
After leaving Real, you had spells at Almeria and Logroñés, you then made the move to England with Macclesfield. How did you the move come about? Did they find you or you find them? Did you use an agent to get you the move, was it specifically a move to England you were after or were there other options on the table?
I wasn’t playing regularly at Logroñes and my agent who was a good friend of Roberto Martinez offered me the chance of a trial at Macclesfield. It wasn’t on my mind to move from Spain, but from the moment I came to England and saw your passion for football, I didin’t have a doubt. I wanted to play in your country.
How was your introduction to English football with Macclesfield? Did you enjoy your time there?
It was very difficult at the start, different culture, language, but when I was on the pitch, with such a great atmosphere I knew I was in the right place to play football.
After a four game spell at Tranmere Rovers, you made the move to Walsall in October 2009. What were the processes and time frames from interest to a signed deal.
My agent offered me the chance to play a reserves game with Walsall and because I wasn’t playing regularly at Tranmere, I took it. After the game Ray Graydon told me that I was interested on me and offered me a 3 months contract. I knew it was a good chance for me and I signed.
How did you feel you adapted to life at the club? You joined on an initial 3 month deal, does this put a heavy pressure to perform from the start?
At Walsall I felt at home from minute one. I’ve got a great confidence in my game so I knew with regular first team football I would convince Ray to offer me a longer deal.
After relegation, Walsall of course bounced straight back, in what was a terrific season, what were your memories of our day out at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff?
It was a great season and getting promotion trough the Play-offs was even better. The atmosphere we lived at the Millennium Stadium was something I would never forget. This day was the best day in my footballing career without a doubt.
Ray Graydon, the manager who brought you to Walsall was sacked on January 22nd 2002. Can you explain how the players were informed and how they, and yourself were feeling after hearing the news?
In football it’s all about results. By that time we didn’t have the results we all expected. It was a shock for all the players but we all knew that without the results it was a possibility.
A day later, Colin Lee was appointed and Walsall managed to avoid relegation, could we have done so under Ray? Were there any noticeable differences between the two managers their management style and training regime?
I always said that football is down to the players. Managers don’t score goals. Of course we could have done the same with Ray. They were similar, maybe Ray was a bit more hard off the pitch
How did you see the club develop under Lee’s stewardship? On and off the pitch, what had changed?
There weren’t many changes, everything stayed similar.
After a loan at Blackpool and short periods at Bristol Rovers and Kidderminster you returned to Spain at the age of 32. Was it the right time to return home?
Yes it was the right time for me. Nobody offered me a contract and my wife was pregnant. I got the chance of playing for a team very close to my house in Madrid and I took it.
It’s been incredibly hard to keep up to date with your playing career in Spain, can you let us know what clubs you’ve been at and how you’ve done.
Since I return to Spain I’ve been playing non professional football for different teams in Madrid. I’m still enjoying very much. I’ve played for Illescas, Vallecas, Gimnastica Segoviana and now I’m playing for RCD Carabanchel, Madrid’s third oldest team after Real and Atletico
official website – www.rcdcarabanchel.es/
Any plans for management or coaching after you hang your boots up?
Along with playing for RCD Carabanchel I’m in charge of their youth set up. I’m really enjoying that job too and it could be an option for the future.
Having played in Spain and England, we often hear journalists and pundits within the game compare La Liga and the Premier League. You have played in the second and third tiers of both Spain and England, how do these compare?
For me the atmosphere and the passion you got in England is the best the two. Footballing wise both are very similar.
Spain are current Euro and World Cup champions, they’ve always had the reputation of being perennial underachievers, so what’s transformed them to such consistent winners?
Now we have the right players and we know exactly how we have to play. Our confidence is on a high at this moment.
Blackpool …. you had a 7 game loan spell with them in 2004, how do you feel seeing them in the Premier League. Does this take you by surprise? Will you be following their fortunes closely this season with interest?
It did honestly was but I’m very happy for them. I will follow them, but my interest’s still at Walsall. Walsall is the team I will follow forever.
Are there any people from the club you keep in contact with?
I keep in contact with Zigor and Jorge Leitao and every week I follow the results of the team. I would love to come back and watch a Walsall game, and I will as soon as possible.
Pedro, it’s been terrific catching up with you, we thank you for some terrific memories. We wish you all the best …..
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