Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero says the club will fight to maintain their place as Spain's No. 1 team in the coming season and insists that he and his team-mates are with coach Jose Mourinho "to the death".
During an interview with Spanish contemporary culture magazine Jot Down, Granero claims that Madrid had proven their worth last season by dethroning the previously all-conquering Barcelona.
"We are accustomed to being No. 1, it is the place that suits us, both the fans and the players," Granero said. "We will fight to keep our place, after regaining it last season. Everyone talks about the best team in history, but another team beat them by nine points.
"We were the best team in the league. We won in their stadium. Madrid does not just accept whatever happens, the club rebels and returns to where it belongs." Former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss Mourinho has been heralded for delivering the title back to the Bernabeu and Granero belives the ambition shown by the Portuguese helped the squad to reach the level required to be Spanish champions.
"Mourinho has got us all with him to the death," Granero said. "One of his virtues is he achieves that through honesty. That is the difference. He is a coach who has won everything, who wants to keep winning, his ambition is contagious. He makes you be at 100% always, every day of the year. And ambitious players appreciate that."
That ambition certainly manifested itself in Cristiano Ronaldo's performances, with Granero insisting that his team-mate is not the arrogant figure many presume but simply a hungry professional.
"The regrettable image outsiders have of Ronaldo does not fit with the reality," Granero said. "Humility is not just about lowering your head. You can show humility when you know you are good, but you always want to give more in every training session and every game. When people say Cristiano is not humble, I laugh. He is one of the most humble guys I know."
Although Granero, 25, made just three La Liga starts last season the Madrid native said he had no interest in changing clubs.
"For me success is Real Madrid," he said. "In what team could I develop more? How far would I have to drop down to think I had reached my limit? I would not know how to set myself a ceiling which was not the highest. Of course I want opportunities, but at Real Madrid, which is the best place. Having that possibility, it would be crazy to decide to leave."
And despite being a stylish, ball-playing midfielder, Granero could certainly never imagine himself signing for Barcelona. "I do not care at all how they play, as a Madridista I could never play for them. Not for all the gold in the world. I could not do it on principle."