A three-time UEFA Champions League winner as a player, Fernando Morientes is now passing on his expertise in the Real Madrid CF youth setup.
The Madrid academy looks to be in fine fettle if the performances of their UEFA Youth League side are anything to go by – the Merengues are through to the round of 16 as Group B winners with a game to spare. Morientes is one of those looking to mould the next generation of talent in the Spanish capital and the former Madrid striker is convinced that the inaugural edition of the competition is already showing its benefits.
"It's an age where they are one step away from professional football," he said. "It is their last year in a youth category. For them it is an important objective, above all because they are competing against other young lads from all over Europe. This competition is the closest to showing them what professional football is about.
"It is a continuous learning process, and apart from that they are together for many hours in training. It is also about getting out of the daily routine and being in a hotel for 24 hours, sleeping together, the chats, the focus, the food, breakfast, dinner … I think that then you really notice the values and character of each individual player and really strengthen the unity of the group."
To hear more from Morientes and for highlights of Madrid's 4-1 win against Galatasaray AŞ on matchday five, view the video above.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.