Francisco Pavon knows all about Real Madrid. The 29-year-old Real Zaragoza central defender cut his teeth in football graduating through the Madrid canteras. And if the name sounds familiar, it’s because he became interminably linked with Florentino Perez’s era of Los Galacticos.
The current president, in his first tenure promised to build a team of “ Zidanes and Pavones,” i.e. a mixture of superstar players rubbing shoulders alongside local home-grown talent, coming up through the ranks. And Franciso Pavon, was seen as the shining example of this strategy at the time.
And for a while that policy seemed to bear some fruit, especially for Pavon. Making his Real Madrid debut against Athletic Bilbao in 2001, he featured highly the following season and added his name to the 2002 championship winning side.
But after that his role with the club diminished and eventually in 2007 the rakish central defender moved on to pastures new at Real Zaragoza. So how does he view the new era of Florentino Perez and the new superstar players that have come to replace the ones he grew up with?
“Well to be honest I think it’s just fantastic what they have done once again. They have got together an incredible team. And quite frankly in my opinion I think this season they are favourites to win absolutely everything,”
Pavon feels that while his time at Madrid didn’t result in him holding a permanent place in the team, it’s where he developed his football and his affection for the club remains strong. But does he seriously believe that Madrid are better than Barcelona this season?
“Well I guess when it comes to the league; you do have to go by the grace of Barcelona because they are the defending champions. But I think this Madrid team now is every bit as good and has an equal chance to win,” Pavon stated.
“Just look at the type of players that the club have bought and the amount of money they have spent on them. This team has been built to win the title and I think that they will do it.”
Pavon no doubt has already pencilled in the date in December when he will have a chance to step out onto the turf at the Bernebeu once again, with Zaragoza. But he says that he isn’t looking that far ahead.
“No one is really looking any further than the next game. It’s game by game every weekend, with the hope of trying to win, and that is the only objective I have so far.”
With the international break upon them, Pavon and his Zaragoza team-mates have a couple of weeks to get their 2-1 defeat away at Atletico Madrid out of their system. But it’s a result that he doesn’t feel is justified.
"I think we deserved to get something out of that game. I thought we moved the ball very well. Atletico had the fortune to get an early goal, and time and again we created chances but didn’t have any luck in taking them, and so in the end that was the result."
And while he reflects on that defeat, there is no doubt in Pavon’s mind that Zaragoza are good enough to stay up in their first season back in the top flight.
“At the moment in the games that we have played, we are certainly able to maintain the level of play. This team is quite dynamic, and I am sure that if we carry on playing as we are, we will get many positive results,” he concluded.