la otra selección – the right hand men
Next up in the profiles of Vicente del Bosque’s team are probably two people that you recognize, since they’re involved in the practices and games. And if you’re a Madrid fan, then you’ve definitely seen them during the years that VDB coached Madrid, because they’ve always been with him.
The first is José Antonio “Toni” Grande (on the left), the assistant coach and VDB’s right hand man. The two of them have known each other for around 40 years, and Toni was also VDB’s assistant coach during his time at Real Madrid.
Toni was born in Valencia in 1947 and was a midfielder in his playing days. He started in the youth teams of Madrid, and then played five seasons with the first team, where he won two Ligas and one Copa del Rey. It was during his time at Madrid that he met VDB, and the two have been friends since. Other teams that Toni’s suited up for include Rayo, Racing, Granada and Palencia. He also participated in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.
As a coach, Toni was the assistant to Fabio Capello during both his stints at Madrid – the 1996-97 season (when Madrid won the Liga) and the 2006-07 season (when Madrid won the Liga). After Capello was replaced the first time, Toni would stay on as an assistant coach at Madrid to Jupp Heynckes, Guus Hiddink and finally Vicente del Bosque, winning the Champions League three times and the Liga twice more. Toni would also team up again with VDB when the latter moved to Beşiktaş and of course the Spanish national team.
Those who know Toni say that he is sarcastic, fun and very traditional.
The second is Javier Miñano (on the right), who is the fitness trainer, the one responsible for mapping out how the players should train. Javier is from Madrid, loves football, is a black belt in judo, and paid for his studies by giving judo classes. He started working in football with Atlético, then moved on to Madrid when the youth system of Atleti was shut down. At Madrid, Javier worked with Toni Grande in the youth teams, and later on, with VDB on the first team.
Javier says what he remembers most from that time is working with Ronaldo: “it was a challenge, he arrived with problems. He had a great World Cup, but physically he wasn’t at his best.” In the end, “it was a pleasure working with him.” Like Toni Grande, Javier continued working with VDB at Beşiktaş and the national team.