With 13 domestic Spanish trophies and the three European Cups, he was part of a team that Madrid will find difficult to forget. It will be a positive experience for them that they can use. They are going to be champions - I just hope it isn't on Saturday.".

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea come to the Reebok Stadium today to seal their Premiership title in what they hope will be a beginning of the kind of dynasty of success that Hierro had at Real. Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

Footballers can often be like boxers who have gone one fight too far. He made his debut on 20 September 1989 freshly signed by Madrid in a 1–0 friendly win with Poland in A Coruña and appeared for the nation in the 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups.

When Hierro arrived at Real Madrid, they had six European Cups but it had been 23 years since their last one and he had to wait another nine years, until 1998, to get the next.

The latest football headlines direct to your inbox, Register with your social account or click here to log in. "At the moment the least important thing is whether I want to stay, it is the sort of decision I will take 10 days before the end of the season.

When Hierro talks about football, he selects his words carefully. They could laud their very own Galactico. "I know him well because he was assistant to Vicente Del Bosque at Real Madrid, he managed the second team.
Being only surpassed by Raúl, David Silva, Fernando Torres and David Villa. Hierro penned a deal for the 2004-05 season and became a Bolton Wanderers player.

The coach had been summarily removed from his post when it became public knowledge that he intended to take the managerial chair at Real Madrid after the World Cup. The season held out long promise for an unlikely top four finish and a place in the Champions League, but as things petered out and points were dropped towards its end, Bolton finished in sixth position. Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox before everyone else. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, Hierro's hunger drives Bolton to brink of history, Email already exists.

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He was the base, the key and I think he is the same to Chelsea now. "I think Claude has this kind of gift - he's been the best player in the team for years but people just don't notice him, don't notice what he does," Hierro says.

My personal issues are unimportant.".

Click here to find out more and book your free ticket today. Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox! It could be an opportunity for Bolton to get into Europe for the first time in their history and we are doing everything we can to make that happen. will be published daily in dedicated articles. Strange to say perhaps, it was perceived as a slight disappointment at the time, but contrasting it to the situation the club finds itself in at the moment, it was an outstanding performance. On the subject of Chelsea and Mourinho's appetite for conflict this season, Hierro is clear. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when If, to many, the signing of a faded 36-year-old star whose only experience outside of the Spanish league was a season in Qatar, seemed like a gamble. Once Rafa makes his connection absolute with the players and once they get to know Rafa, the way he works, then you will see Liverpool fighting for everything.

An exquisite delivery from set pieces also tied in nicely with the Allardyce game plan, often finding the target of a Bolton player in a dangerous position. Being instrumental in the conquest of five leagues and three UEFA Champions League trophies and being named captain after the latter’s retirement. While Makelele threatened to go on strike if the ludicrous disparity between his wages and those of his team-mates was not addressed, Hierro refused to take his players out for a second lap of honour after sealing the title against Atletico Bilbao in May 2003. "People are completely absorbed by football, it's not better or worse but different. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification, -1) ? “After spending a year in Qatar, he is desperate to make an impression again in mainstream European football,” he explained. "But you ask anyone at Real Madrid during the years we were talking about and they will tell you he was the best player at Real. That's how good Rafa is.

Guidelines. "The whole Chelsea phenomenon, when you have an owner who is so rich it will obviously help, but Chelsea are building for the future.

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His English is coming along too, but its difficult to get a chance to practice when there are so many old Spanish friends in the area. In a 16-year career with Los Blancos, he would win five La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, four Spanish Super Cups, three Champions League trophies, two Intercontinental Cups and a UEFA Super Cup. He might not get forward as much as he once did - with penalties and free-kicks he is Spain's second highest goalscorer of all-time with 29 goals - but his reading of the game has not dimmed with time. After beginning his football career at local club Vélez CF he had a very brief youth spell with neighbouring CD Málaga. Bolton's Fernando Hierro has had success in an all-white strip but wants more Michael Walker Fri 29 Apr 2005 20.15 EDT First published on Fri 29 Apr 2005 20.15 EDT Equally at home at centre-back or holding midfield, he also had the nous and ability to play as a libero sweeping up at the back and setting teams moving with his incisive passing and thrusts into midfield. During years, he often partnered club great Manolo Sanchís in the centre of the defense. Now at 37, he has played 33 games this season for a club who are just four points off the fourth Champions' League spot and, in sixth position, comfortably placed for their first ever Uefa Cup qualification.

Then, of course, there was also Campo, perhaps the most successful of such signings who spent five years at the Reebok.

Already ensconced with the club was Hierro’s former Madrid team-mate Iván Campo and it was thought that the Spaniard, together with another former Madrid star, Steve McManaman, were persuasive elements in Hierro’s decision to join the club. At the turn of the season, wiser counsel prevailed on the thoughts of the player, despite encouragement from both manager and fans to sign on for a last swansong.

Ryan Giggs runs him close, but the winger is running out of time to equal the haul of three European Cups and if there is one club who could consider that a realistic aim it would not be Manchester United but the side that Hierro faces this evening.

The old tough guy of Real Madrid's midfield, latterly its defence is, quite simply, the most decorated footballer playing in the Premiership. Being bought by Real Madrid in the summer of 1989 after two solid seasons.

Hierro's team-mates have been impressed by a total commitment to the club which has involved the entire Hierro family, including his two young children, moving from Madrid to the north-west of England. In that sense they are doing things the right way.".

It's all about trophies.

After a year at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium an offer to venture back into a mainstream European league persuaded Hierro to swap the heat of Qatar for the more temperate climate at Bolton Wanderers. He scored once during his tenure, which came in a 2–3 loss at Norwich City in December 2004 and, even though hard-pressed by fans and manager Sam Allardyce to stay for a further campaign. 'active' : ''"> real-world solutions, and more. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?

try again, the name must be unique, Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Hierro asks, counting them on his fingers, "it was tremendous but you can't possibly keep that going.". You are left alone to enjoy life and get on with your job. He was tired of the circus that had accompanied Beckham's transfer and the increasing commercialisation of the club.

Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. try again, the name must be unique, Please You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Chelsea have been in this position before. Most liked, -1) ? For someone who played only 37 games in all competitions for the club, scoring a solitary goal – it speaks volumes of the contribution he is seen to have made in that short period of time. At the height of his powers, he was simply irreplaceable, and even in the later years of his career, with pace and mobility declining, his experience grew to fill any number of apparent other gaps in his game. Which prompted a return home. What I am concentrated on at the moment is this game against Chelsea. He has not yet decided whether he will extend the one-year contract that he signed at the start of the year although the chance of playing in Bolton's first ever tilt at European football will prove a powerful incentive to stay. 'active' : ''">

It was also a season that prompted Allardyce to laud Hierro as the best passer of a ball in the history of the club. Going on to add that “I wouldn’t expect 38 games out of him at his age, but what I am getting is a player who has been world class all his life and I will look to use that experience at the right time and he will be invaluable around the place.” On the club’s website, he laid out his thoughts for the coming season. It may sound unlikely to any unfamiliar with the history of the times, but a player who graced La Liga, World and European Championships is also hailed a hero in Bolton.

Hierro has expressed his distaste for the galactico policy already but he is too polite to revel in the failure of his former side to win a single trophy since his departure saying simply that "teams come and go, other teams progress".

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