When Real Madrid is doing well the people of Madrid are happy and the city does well, Jesus the taxi driver said as he took me from Real Madrid's training ground back into the heart of the capital. In fact it was not until we were some ten minutes into the journey, nearing the Puerto del Sol, did Jesus ask me where I was going. When I jumped in the cab his first question was who did you speak to, what did you see, anybody injured? When I replied I had just interviewed Steve McManaman, Jesus, a Real Madrid supporter through and through, was desperate to know the latest. Forget Figo, forget Raul, McManaman is god at Real Madrid, we love him. He's always smiling, he looks a really nice bloke and plays superb football. He has been the talisman of Real's European campaign, he plays everywhere, old Del Bosque just lets him off the lead, up and back, left to right. The fans and the people love him, he's here to stay, all we hope is that he marries a Spaniard then we know he's here for life." Out on the training pitch, Macca as his teammates call him, was the centre of attention for a six-year-old fan, who every time Macca came near, did his best to yell out Steve we yove you (sic.) And there is no doubt, the youngster speaks for the whole of Madrid. Steve McManaman admits he is very happy in Spain last season could not have worked out any better, he said after training on Wednesday, the first full morning session for the squad after last Sunday's win over Valencia. Sitting at the top of the stands at the training ground, Macca says his confidence is at an all time high and, seven points clear at the top of the Spanish first division, the season is panning out well. How Macca would take the love, affection and barrage of compliments from Jesus, is dificult to say, but on the quiet, modesty is Macca's middle name. He looks back with great memories of winning the Champions League and scoring in the final, but the enormity of scoring against Valencia was not brought home to him until he spoke to his father and his friends. Growing up, all dad and his mates would talk about was Real Madrid this, Real Madrid that, it was my dad who made me realise the importance of scoring in the final. Macca loves Spain, his Spanish is coming along and he is very content with having made the move from Liverpool.
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