CFCNET – CLAUDE MAKEKELE INTERVIEW
Back in late 2006, very soon after the Tottenham defeat; CFCnet spent some time with Claude Makelele at Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham, and asked him some of the many questions our readers posted to him for the CFCnet magazine.
With Claude departing recently for his homeland, we decided to dust off the old Word document and stick it on t’internet for you all to enjoy.
Claudio Ranieri famously called him the battery in the Chelsea watch, and it’s easy to see why. Claude Makelele has been one of the main men in keeping our wins ticking over nicely since his arrival. A player so integral to Chelsea’s recent achievements, Maka doesn’t give many interviews. Ours was the first he has given to any English media this season, one for the Chelsea supporters who he clearly holds in high esteem.
His is rarely a name that springs up immediately in the footballing greats conversations with your mates, but one that has everyone nodding in agreement once mentioned: Claude Makelele is the invisible legend, a player whom you notice most when not there.
As soon as he entered the room and flashed that famous smile of his, I could see why he escapes so many bookings and is so respected by his peers and pundits alike; there is something about Claude Makelele that you instantly warm to, and that makes you feel humble to be in his presence.
He is indeed, a footballing legend.
So tell us about your goal against Tottenham…[Laughing] I think it was a good goal, no?
It was a great goal!
It was only my second goal in four years for Chelsea and it was nice. The problem is, I scored but the team lost, this is more difficult for me, but I’m happy that I scored a goal.
You’ve won almost everything in the game, what further goals do you have for your career?
I think that every player is always looking to win the next trophy. For me, the trophy I need now to win is the World Cup. I think a professional footballer should always be pursuing everything.
For now, for me, the Premiership is first, then maybe the Champions League. The Premiership is the best trophy in England, it’s very difficult to win it as well, as there are a lot of teams who can win, and want to win the trophy; so once you win the Premiership then you go for the Champions League as well.
When I won the Champions League for Real Madrid four years ago, their target was always the Champions League, but now the first trophy I want is the Premiership.
In your first season at Chelsea, did you feel the fans didn’t give you enough credit for the job you did?
No, it’s normal I think. It was different because I was coming in from Real Madrid, the people of Chelsea didn’t know me. They knew me from the TV and my time at Real Madrid; but they’d never seen me play for Chelsea.
I’m a professional, I give everything on the pitch, I tried to prove myself with every opportunity, to the supporters who judged me, and I think now that I have proven myself to them. In four years I have proven a lot to Chelsea supporters and other supporters in England and now I think they like my football.
You won the players player of the year award last year, how did it feel being voted the most valuable player by your team mates?
It’s nice you know… I think that there is no better judge on the pitch than that of another player. He knows everything; he lives with the team and is always fighting for the team, even if there’s a problem and he’s out injured, he’s there thinking for the team.
When the players gave this trophy to me it was one of the best moments for me. I don’t necessarily need recognition by some people outside of football, fans of Chelsea is different, but when given by players it is extra special.
What is it like to play in a World Cup final?
It is the desire of every player to play in a final, any final, generally. But the World Cup? Not many people get this chance. It is one opportunity and if you miss this opportunity it is something that may never come back again so for me, it was a good experience.
You’ve played with some great midfielders, how would you compare the play of Frank Lampard to that of Zinedine Zidane?
With Zidane, I played with him since I was young. I know everything about him; he is my friend as well as a footballer. Frank is a different player, Zidane is a different player. It’s impossible to compare totally but each complements my midfield play.
I like playing with Frank; he’s a very good player and has proved that he is the best midfielder in Europe, if not the world, but Zidane is… Zidane, no? With his football, for six or seven years, he stayed the best player in the world.
Do you find it flattering that your position is now known as ‘The Makelele Position’?[Laughing] I’m happy to have given some style to this position, and if now some younger players try this position, and also give everything for their football, then I am happy.
If you had to choose one thing, what is Jose Mourinho’s outstanding quality as a manager?
Claude Makelele – Honours
Year Honour (Club)
1995 French 1st Division Champions (Nantes)
2000 Intercontinental Cup Finals (Real Madrid)
2000 European SuperCup Finals (Real Madrid)
2001 Primera League Champions (Real Madrid)
2002 Intercontinental Cup Winner (Real Madrid)
2002 European SuperCup Winner (Real Madrid)
2002 Champions League Winner (Real Madrid)
2002 Spanish Cup Finals (Real Madrid)
2003 Primera League Champions (Real Madrid)
2005 Carling Cup Winner (Chelsea)
2005 Premiership Champions (Chelsea)
2005 Community Shield Winner (Chelsea)
2006 Premiership Champions (Chelsea)
2006 World Cup Finalist (France)
Our thanks go to those involved at Chelsea for the opportunity to spend some time with Maka, and of course to Claude himself, for everything.
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