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Joaquin López ‘Kiko’ Martinez Interview by Dylan O’Connell

There are few football clubs in world football that need no introduction and REAL MADRID is certainly one of them.

Los Blancos, with their thirteen CHAMPIONS LEAGUE titles and their 33 LA LIGA championships, are the most successful and recognised football club in all of the beautiful game.

Joaquin López ‘Kiko’ Martinez is a man who witnessed upfront the hard work behind the successes at the club through his coaching experiences at La Fábrica, the REAL MADRID academy

The UEFA PRO-LICENSE holder worked at Madrid’s academy for ten years and oversaw the development of future CHAMPIONS LEAGUE winners Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vázquez, and Nacho.

Kiko: “Working at REAL MADRID was a dream come true,” Kiko told Pro-Scout 3.

Kiko: “After playing for several years as a player in different divisions in Spain, I had a serious knee injury which forced me to give up playing soccer. At that moment I began coaching and worked my way through multiple youth academies in the country before I was offered a job at my boyhood club, REAL MADRID.”

At Real, he worked under careful instruction from managers such as Vicente del Bosque, Carlos Queiroz, and Fabio Capello.

Kiko: “We had to follow the same philosophy as the first team. Although each coach contributed to each player and team’s individual personality and character, we had instructions from first team management to teach players in a certain way. These instructions laid out a pathway to the first team for the players.”

Kiko: “My own PHILOSOPHY is built on possession of the ball. I work about 85% of my sessions on the ball and the rest on physical work. Working with the ball is most important to me as you have to play and win the game with the ball.”

Kiko: “We are not athletes we are footballers. That is why I focus so much on working on possession and keeping the ball.”

Kiko: “My methodology in training involves different steps. First we work on defence, next transitions, and then attack. After all of this, we work on set pieces. They are super important, especially corners, they are vital for attacking and defending.”

Kiko: “I also want to make the player understand my idea of possession so that it can be accurately reflected it on the pitch. I also always leave the player the freedom to make their own decisions during the game.”

Kiko: “I have been very lucky to have produced some of the players that I have. Seeing Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vázquez, and Nacho playing in the first team now is fantastic. I had them at u14 level. Even at that young age, they were very disciplined, intelligent players who were eager to learn everyday.”

Kiko: “For the underage teams as a whole, when you play for the best club in the world there is always pressure, but the honour and privilege to play for REAL MADRID is what players focus on.”

Kiko: “During my time at MADRID, the club won three LA LIGA championships, one CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, one UEFA SUPER CUP, and one INTERCONTINENTAL Cup. Any trophy and title won by the fist team is celebrated by the entire club and that helps us with our work with the underage teams. It motivates the players to continue working and improving personally and professionally and be the best.”

Since he left Madrid in 2009, Kiko has travelled the world as a coach working with many different clubs and counties. This is something he would recommend to anyone with an interest in coaching.

Kiko: “My journey as a coach has brought me right across the world. I have worked in the Ivory Coast, Bahrain, Tunisia, Kuwait, and China.”

Kiko: “Working across the world has been wonderful and especially learning from new cultures. Finding new ways of working in different cultures is something that has helped me to improve as a person and as a professional.”

Kiko: “Going back to my PHILOSOPHY, when I go to a club I like to connect with the players and the culture with the club. I sit down and learn all about the history of the club and what the club’s objectives are. This is important for my philosophy and I do it wherever I go.”

Kiko: “Travelling, and to be able to experience other cultures and civilisations, is something I would recommend to anyone as a football coach.”